Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

April 23, 2012

Random Thoughts About Uncomfortable IndyCar Items

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 2:41 pm

As the IndyCar Series heads really far south, like South America south, for the next non-oval before 9 days in May, several items have my admittedly limited intellect churning with all types of thoughts. There is no scientific rationale nor links, but some of the items running between my ears include:

-Beaux Barfield is an enigma. Fans appreciate the way he has shaken up Race Control (it needed it) but wonder how/where his bread is buttered. The ‘avoidable contact’ rule, for example. No one seems immune unless they drive for Penske or Ganassi. In those cases most of their drivers are given carte blanche to wreak havoc. Helio Castroneves for example. Big star. Immune. There have been at least three instances this season where Helio adopted the ‘rubbin’ is racin’ philosophy. Dario Franchitti, another big star pretty boy, is immune. His blatant punt of Josef Newgarden was obvious to everyone except Barfield. On balance, Beaux is shaking things up. He needs to work hard on the not playing favorites claim, because right now that is a joke.

-The other things that really bother me are shenanigans being tossed by engine manufacturers. In theory new Indy Car rules make sense on some levels. Minimum mileage mandates or grid penalties, and at a reasonable cost. In practice, loopholes are being sought, excuses are being made, and teams are being penalized for abhorrent behavior.  Would things be any worse if engine production was opened to any qualified builder who could badge it however they wanted? What we have now seems creepy.

-Several Lotus teams have become disenchanted with the way they are being treated. Being behind is one thing. Being nearly non-existent with no apparent funding and management turmoil is another. Screwing teams, whether intentional or unintentional, should not stand. A smart plan would be to have some sort of contingency that does not involve being at the mercy of either Chevy or Honda for teams saddled with the Lotus burden. Fan appreciate real competition between deserving factions.

-Speaking of engines, something in either the rules or supplier protocol is screwy when one-offs are not possible for Indy. Planning for only 34 or so entrants in advance is not what fans pluck down their money to see.  Many of those who typically field one-offs have given up in advance, primarily because there is no chance for an engine. That is not acceptable.

Once May arrives we will probably feel better.



  1. Not worried about car count at Indy this year. It wasn’t long ago people were predicting a very low car count for the series this year due to the expense of the new cars. Having 26 full time entries is a good thing, but it’s pushing the limit. This is a transitional year, completely new cars and–after years of running a detuned spec engine–3 new engines with the usual development problems. As long as they have 33 I’m happy–of course by next year I’d like to see at least 10 more…

    Comment by redcar — April 23, 2012 @ 4:16 pm | Reply

  2. I too am disturbed by the engine issues and I do not believe any of the statements coming from Chevy, Honda or Lotus….first, these manufactuers claim to lose money on developing, building and supplying the engines to the field….c’ome on and give me a break…no corporation undertakes an endevor to lose money and there must be an angle all three manufacturers are playing but are not telling the racing public….second, Chevy and Honda claim that neither has any more engines to supply additional teams….again, I am calling foul, especially since GM miraculously found a cache of engines prior to Long Beach that enabled all eleven cars powered by Chevy to change out their engines….finally, we are told that Lotus has the resources to not only supply its teams for the entire year but that the engine will become equally competitive with Chevy and Honda….after the first three races, it is clear that Lotus is junk and completely uncompetitive and now is the time for the series to take bold and decisive action to ensure a competitive field….what if we have a new chassis, new engines and not enough motors to go around for Indy 500 qualifying….

    Comment by Neil Rubin — April 23, 2012 @ 6:37 pm | Reply

  3. So Helio getting a penalty at Long Beach and Graham Rahal getting probation after Long Beach (Penske and Ganassi, respectively) means that Penske and Ganassi aren’t penalized? Hmm, yup your post makes sense to me

    Comment by Spencer — April 27, 2012 @ 12:40 am | Reply

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