Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

February 24, 2012

Fighting For What is Right in IndyCar

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 2:06 pm

The latest needless battleground in IndyCar is Texas Motor Speedway. On one side are panic stricken road racing enthusiasts who decry pack racing as ‘not racing.’ While I may personally agree with them to a certain extent, occasional packs of speeding cars throughout a 26-car field add a fairly significant amount of excitement. Over the past few years much of the raciness has been dumbed out of the cars. Here is the perfect example. For the first few years Indy Cars ran at Richmond the racing occurred all the way through the field, mostly in small clusters. Positions were changed and no one raised a stink about cars side by side for laps at a time. Then, mandated changes to the way the cars are set up caused a succession of relatively boring parades that drove fans away from an otherwise successful venue.

Add to that Richmond’s attempted poaching of IndyCar event sponsors for NASCAR events and we ended up with a needlessly vacant slot on the racing calendar.

Texas has been a race of edge-of-your-seat beauty since its inception. Only recently has a cacophony of condemnation occurred. Many of the same instigators were around in 2001 when cart strolled in there and promptly stepped on their genitals, again screwing racing fans as the result of their egos and poor planning. If not for Eddie Gossage, IndyCar would not have a second home. I cannot imagine losing a venue that routinely draws 80,000 for Indy Cars, particularly to appease the whining of a small group of what are essentially, to be blunt, pussies.

Drivers and road racing enthusiasts are clamoring for changes to the cars that will turn actual racing into single file parading with the occasional pass. Some are even calling for a parking lot temporary course at Texas. These people desperately need to find some other amusement and stop meddling in a branch of the sport in which they have absolutely no business. Many actual racing fans are sick and tired of the imposition of the philosophies of road racers onto oval racing. Enough is enough.

Chicagoland, Kentucky and Kansas (to name a few) have been eliminated and oval fans are angry. Randy Bernard may hide behind research as an excuse, but in reality when a venue is as inconsistently scheduled over time as Kentucky was with little to no meaningful promotion, what does he expect?

The most sickening aspect of the anti-Texas movement is their gratuitous use of the Dan Wheldon freak death at Las Vegas. They have convinced themselves that the same accident is waiting to happen at Texas. No, it’s not. If the cars are set up properly and the drivers drive them like the professionals they are supposed to be, nothing bad will happen.

I love small ovals as much as the next guy, but Indy Car MUST maintain a presence on ovals of ALL sizes, from short tracks to 1.5 milers to places like Fontana and up to Indy. My group of long term fans is ready to go to war over Texas if necessary.



  1. From what the driver’s said, other than the problems they had with the fencing, these problems could be overcome by adjusting downforce so they were forced to lift going into corners and essentially making the cars more difficult to drive (and slower, I guess.)

    Rather than declare war, wouldn’t it be preferable to figure out (quickly) how to make the cars competitive and racy, even at slower speeds? So they could race an oval that’s been popular and at the same time listen to the driver’s in an attempt to make racing as safe as possible.

    Comment by redcar — February 24, 2012 @ 2:34 pm | Reply

  2. Amen Defender!

    Redcar, your comment makes too much sense. But the goal is not to make these courses safer, its to get rid of them. That is my take anyway.

    Comment by Bob F. — February 24, 2012 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

  3. Very true!

    Comment by steve — February 24, 2012 @ 4:08 pm | Reply

  4. The problem here is two-fold: While I agree that Texas has traditionally been the most exciting close-quarter racing in the series, and it is unquestionably the best attended oval race outside of Indy, the dearth of ovals on the series and efforts to entice more, may put the series and Eddie Gossage at odds.

    If I am Gossage and I see other facilities being “incentivized” with lower sanction fees, sweetheart promotional deals, etc., I am surely going to raise at least a modicum of Hell. Why can’t I have the “best” deal, when I have been supporting the series throughout its history?

    On the other side, if I am Randy Bernard, I’ve got at least ONE oval race in my proverbial pocket that isn’t “broke,” so why do I need to “fix” it?

    This is the conundrum facing the PTB in the series. Smarter guys than me are going to have to figure it out.

    As to the racing, let’s be brutally honest: Texas has had in its past some of the closest and most exciting racing in recent years. This series cannot afford to let that go by the wayside.

    And, I agree with you, that most of the “woe is us” attitude about pack racing has come about post-remergification. Before that, most of the fans were excited to go to Texas every year BECAUSE of the close racing.

    Comment by SkipinSC — February 24, 2012 @ 5:23 pm | Reply

  5. It’s ridiculous to call Dan Wheldon’s death a freak accident. If I play Russian Roulette and survive 5, 10, 50 times, it’s not a freak accident when there is a round in the chamber. If my wife isn’t taking her birth control, it’s not a freak accident when she gets pregnant. If you keep launching cars into the fence, it’s not a freak accident when someone loses their life.
    Editor’s Note: It was a one-in-a-million shot. A few inches either way and he’d have walked away. The agenda riddled assholes who keep trying to blame IndyCar and/or Dallara are among the most ignorant mammals on earth. I am surprised these people are able to breathe without assistance.

    Also, plans for this war you plan on waging to save Texas?
    Editor’s Note: Keep screwing around with the event and watch what happens.

    Comment by SaveUsJerebko — February 24, 2012 @ 9:43 pm | Reply

    • A few more inches and Power, Pippa, Tracy, and JR could all have been dead too.
      Editor’s Note: But they’re not.

      It’s your blog, so you can call me whatever you want. In my experience when you lower yourself to name calling, you’re admitting you’re wrong. Calling me agenda riddled when you have devoted hours and hours of your life to your agenda is high comedy though. Bravo. It has to be hard thinking you have all the answers, yet no one ever listens.
      Editor’s Note: Try sticking to the topic. Tit for tat is worthless.

      Comment by SaveUsJerebko — February 25, 2012 @ 7:20 pm | Reply

  6. Dear Defender:

    Let’s see….the series and fans clamored for a new chassis designed to improve passing and to limit the type of launch issues that maimed Kenny Brack and killed Dan Wheldon and the drivers are telling us that the new Dallara has the same level of down force as the old model? What the hell did the series do with this new Dallara? If the cars will again pack up and increase the propensity for more carnage in case of a close quarters crash, then we should have stayed with the old model and saved the teams the trouble! Yes, Texas is thrilling but if the cars are again flat out and glued to the track, then we will again run the risk that some damn fools will push and push and cause unnecessary contact thereby launching one or more cars airborne….my friends, if there is another death or if a car crosses over the wire into the crowd, we may see the end of the series for good….I am with many of the drivers who want more HP and less down force that will require the driver to lift and break up the pack racing.
    Editor’s Note: Neil, let’s deal with facts. A launch did not kill Dan Wheldon. A fence post did. What has IndyCar done to prevent the kind of launch that gets drivers’ heads close to fence posts? Re-designed cars with bodywork to prevent wheel contact. Let’s at least see them in action ONCE before the same sort of vapid, empty, repetitive criticism is parroted like the Pledge of Allegiance in a kindergarten class, shall we?

    Comment by Neil Rubin — February 24, 2012 @ 11:09 pm | Reply

    • yea Neil…if that fence post wasn’t in Weldons way, all would be good.But then again, the stratosphere hotel would have been the next target…judging by his trajectory.
      Editor’s Note: So are you saying we should just remove the fence posts?

      Comment by J.B. — February 25, 2012 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

      • fence posts and fence…with nobody in the stands, it removes the threat of spectator involvement.
        Editor’s Note: Get back to us when you develop synaptic activity.

        Comment by J.B. — February 26, 2012 @ 2:19 am

  7. Trackside with Kevin Lee and Curt Cavin is the place for fair, consistant information for all of you that like the facts not opinions.
    Editor’s Note: Nice plug.

    Comment by steve — February 25, 2012 @ 6:42 pm | Reply

  8. Your Richmond analogy is all wrong. The problem of pack racing isn’t its side-by-side nature; it’s the fact that the guy running last is never more than 300 feet from the leader. When there’s a crash, the guy in last will never have enough time to react properly. That’s not a race, that’s a lottery.
    Editor’s Note: I see where you’re going, and it could be a valid point. Here’s my solution: Stop running oval races filled with road racers.

    Comment by A.G.S. — March 22, 2012 @ 4:05 am | Reply

  9. to Editor: I know this is waaaaaaay after this piece ran, but there’s a link on the main page to it, so…So if the road racers stop running the ovals, and they’re replaced by “oval track aces”, those drivers (the oval trackers) WON’Tdie when they get airborne into the fence posts? The time they have to react is somehow different than a road racers’ time? Just asking.
    Editor’s Note: Good questions. First, road racers won’t ever stop running ovals. Or their mouths. One of the few road racers to put his money where his mouth was was Mike Conway. I do not see that happening on a wide scale. There is little difference in the reaction time of oval specialists versus road racing specialists, but great oval racers have a slightly different skill set and actually enjoy the discipline. Auto racing is a dangerous sport for anyone. Dan Wheldon, for example, is just as dead as Jeff Krosnoff. My complaint is that large scale complaining about ‘pack’ racing is nonsense. There have been only two actual instances of mayhem that resulted from it in the last twenty years, and both involved drivers who caused problems when they were in over their heads. Most who get into a fence do not die. Getting into a fence on an oval or a non-oval can be equally dangerous. Ask Franchitti. Give me less whiny drivers and more enthusiastic ones and the racing will be better IMHO.

    Comment by Skeptical1 — June 9, 2014 @ 6:13 pm | Reply

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