Defender of IndyCar

Unsolicited Advice for IndyCar’s Graham Rahal

HelloGraham Rahal, aspiring young American IndyCar driver with a lone win and some close calls to his credit, has been on Twitter and Facebook a lot lately pining for what he calls ‘real’ race cars. Predictably, these include defunct Lolas and the DP01. He has been attaching pictures too.

My advice: Forget about obsolete used race cars and move forward. Learn to race effectively in the one we have. Some have better luck with the Dallara DW12 than others, and Graham’s luck has been Chevyless than optimum. Meanwhile other young drivers such as Marco Andretti seem to have figured it out. Ryan Hunter-Reay seems to have few problems. The car is plenty racy when the configuration is not horribly micromanaged as it was in Texas.

It is difficult to tell what the problem is with Graham. The team? The driver? It is perplexing, but it is what it is. Right now the rules only allow for the DW12 with Honda or Chevy badges. I would say embrace it. It is my belief that all racing fans would love to see meaningful chassis variety and perhaps that will happen one day. What I hope does NOT Hondahappen is regression. Driving cars popular ten or fifteen years or twenty years ago may be nostalgic but is not realistic.

Want to drive a different car? Go talk to Miles and Walker about changing the competitive landscape. Some of the manufacturer options presented during the last round were intriguing. It is my belief that Lights should get a car similar to whatever the IndyCar is or becomes. There is room for improvement in the future, but actually pointing toward the future is what matters. The past deserves its current location in the history books.

13 replies to “Unsolicited Advice for IndyCar’s Graham Rahal

  1. Good train of thought to move forward, not backward. The current car is competitive and very racy. However, it still comes down to being a kit car series with only one chassis and 2 engine choices. The fans in the stands can’t actually see the internal tweeks that each team may be able to make by the mechanics or the driver. About the only change in the configuration that the fans can see is the wing adjustments during pit stops. That just isn’t enough. What the series should do is mandate a safety cell and other safety oriented parts and then encourage chassis and engine variety. One way might be to limit the number of teams that any one chassis manufacturer can support, 2 or 3 maybe (of course Penske and Ganassi would still probably get the best one whether it be Dallara or some other!). At least then the other teams would develop a market for other builders to get involved.

  2. Ha. You have cart envy. So does Graham. That is epic. This is like the irony in Rush’s album “2112” or some 21st century return to the Pony Express. Old railbirds like yourself should know better especially when professionals have been calling them “crapwagons” for a reason. Only you and the Hulman George family know better, huh? Too funny!
    Editor’s Note: Oh look…the crapper kiddies have discovered the blog again, and have offered even more barely literate, obtuse meandering. News flash: cart, and its cars, are dead. Actual adults move forward. News flash II: ‘Professionals’ who refer to IndyCars as ‘crapwagons’ are not professionals. It’s hard to be professional when your mental agility rivals that of an average four year old. In the unlikely event any of you learn how to actually read, you might want to pay closer attention to the advice I offered toward the end. But I won’t hold my breath.

  3. LOL awesome work with your screen capture skillz. I’m sure the giant file folder icon is intentionally there as the new defender watermark, right?
    Editor’s Note: Works fine on my screen. But thanks for reading.

  4. While I’m not a fan of the car it should be pointed out graham wasn’t very good in a DP01 either. I mean shoot I remember when Carpentier ran a 185 in qualifying in 1998 at Milwaukee and I was curious so I looked and saw Andretti did a whopping 170 today.

  5. Looks like Graham keeps laying turds with the car. He can’t get a good setup, and has rejected Jakes’ setup a few times. He’d better step up soon or he’ll be driving something else next year.

  6. Still fighting the war. I bet if Graham had said he missed the pre-2012 Dallara, you wouldn’t say a thing. But since the cars he talked about were from CART/Champcar, you want to get your panties in a wad. I remember you crying when they talked about going to turbos for the new cars. You claimed it was “old technology” and wanted it kept out. Truth is, you want to keep anything that had anything to do with CART/Champcar out simply as a trophy, a victory for the mighty IRL.
    Editor’s Note: I see your basic reading comprehension skills are still lacking.

  7. We always forget to carry the Zero. As in Zero Point Three. How the hell are they going to spin this? Seriously.
    Editor’s Note: Ah, yes….another Internet television executive stupidly portending doom that never actually comes to pass. Seventeen years in they are as obsessed as ever. Keep watching, kid.

    Just bury the body. It’s been rotting for a few years, now time to do AOW justice. What used to be such a beautiful series, is now just bloated and rotting in the Texas sun.
    Editor’s Note: Yeah…cart was fun until they killed themselves. Twice. Time to move on. The mourning period ended a long time ago.

    But, as is proven trackside and television, people are tired of the stench. Never thought FTG saw this as a Vision. Dick. I’m not going to waste any thought processes insulting the whole debacle that is The IRL.
    Editor’s Note: When will this stubborn indignation extend to obsessed commentary ad nauseum in comment sections? Are you kids ever going to actually grow up? And what does any of your pointless commentary have to do with the actual topic?

  8. Is Indycar a success?
    Editor’s Note: It depends upon the measurement criteria. In a general sense the answer is yes. It is an ongoing business concern that delivers a quality product. It is at or near profitability. Long term the new leader does not believe it is self-sustaining without the 500 or IMS, but that has been true since 1911. If television ratings are factored in we can really get into subjective arguments. What is normal to those in the business may seem doom-filled to people on the Internet. Attendance at most venues is good, and that is a positive. Sponsor partners are plentiful, but are not spending enough. There is a strong lineup of teams. Indy Lights is a huge disappointment lately, and the must fix their ladder, emphasizing the car style and venue variety IndyCar has. The racing has rarely been better. The driver lineup is strong. It is mostly good and headed in the right direction.

  9. Well reasoned reply. Is just existing going to be good enough? Changing the criteria to suit the needs of the day is not working. There’s two sides to the glass half empty/full argument.
    Existing has been good enough for almost twenty years. There is finally a seasoned executive who wants to step that up and his actions will be interesting to follow.

  10. Mark Miles never said that he did not believe Indy Car could be self-sustaining long term without the INDY 500 or IMS. On a internet chat, he stated that Indy Car right now was not self-sustainable without financial aid from the Hulman-George family. A big difference. That money is not all coming from IMS and the race itself, because they are not making the money they used to. The family is having to dip into their own coffers to give money to the league. All you have to do to see the lack of money being made by IMS, is to look at the state of the grounds itself. Look at the lack of staff for the Indy 500 itself. The signs are there, as you well have pointed out yourself in previous posts. Do not blame this on Mark Miles or anyone else, because they get their marching orders directly from the family.

    I remember Tony George stating the family was worried that cart was getting to a point that they may not need IMS, and that they were worried cart may start demanding more terms and conditions to run at IMS. Those were big reasons that he used to form the IRL. Well, now he has a series that is very much dependent on the family’s money to run a whole year, and the big race itself loses TV ratings and attendance amongst other things, every year.
    Editor’s Note: Reality check….cart is deceased. Twice. IndyCar comes back year after year. It doesn’t matter where the money originates. I know that drives the children of the cart nuts, and that’s entertaining.

  11. Dear Defender:

    I have to take issue with your mention about attendance, at most venues, being good…on the beloved ovals, save IMS and the incredibly small Iowa facility, the crowds are tiny compared with the seating capacity at the ovals the series still runs on like Texas, California and most recently the Milwaukee Mile…I attended multiple Milwaukee events back in the 90’s and the stands were full…not anymore….if the series remains dependent on Hulman-George dollars to stay afloat, then the series is not in good shape financially, at least compared with F1, NASCAR and even NHRA….what are the odds that Indy Car goes the way of ALMS and some other series buys Indy Car?
    Editor’s Note: ‘Good’ or ‘bad’ with attendance or ratings mostly depends on the subjective prejudice of the person making the pronouncement. If IndyCar returns to a venue year after year, it’s good enough. Nothing except perhaps the NFL has the attendance it did during the utopian days of yore. IndyCar will stay affiliated with IndyCar for a long time. The series is not for sale unless someone offers ‘stupid’ money.

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