PDA

View Full Version : Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate



Bball
10-18-2011, 12:50 PM
In light of this weekend's tragedy the knee-jerk reaction will be to blame speed first and ovals second. Blaming the speed misses the point and blaming ovals neglects that death has occurred on road and street courses in the past as well. Also, just a few weeks ago we saw Kanaan's car launch at Baltimore (a street course). It's wheel to wheel contact that is the problem. I do admit this Dallara chassis has had its share of launches but I'm not sure how much of that is the chassis and how much of that has been the amount of wheel to wheel racing this spec series racing has brought. We've never seen everyone in the same car and engine combo for this many years. That bears (IMHO) a LOT of examination heading forward.

The cars have so much downforce and the matching engines are so equal that on a high banked track they can get no separation. It's smash the gas and go. Nobody has to brake. In fact, slowing down is not a good idea because the car behind you is so close he'll run over you if you do.

Everyone's pretty much figured out the aero and the gearing on these cars.

Honda has advertised the engine reliability. Yes, that is impressive on the surface. But then you have to consider the 'detuned' nature of the engines. Since they are competing with no one but themselves the Honda engines aren't running at peak performance. They are not trying to tweak it to be faster than another engine manufacturer. They are not running on the edge. They are running in a comfortable powerband. Another reason for the pack racing we see on high banks.

Cars have to run in the pack to stick in the draft and maintain contact with the leaders.

In the race Sunday there were 34 cars. Any time you have a start or restart you're going to have a potential issue because that is when the cars are bunched up. But, as stated, on the high banks these cars aren't really going to separate. Maybe the 34 cars could've been a factor in a similar circumstance, but it wasn't here IMHO. Dukie made a statement about Vegas being too narrow. I'm not sure that's the case. The cars were 3 wide because the track has some of the highest banking in the series (in fact I think Vegas is the highest banking they've raced on). And from what I gather it's a smooth track. No bumps to unsettle the car. So, 3, even 4 wide was not too scary for anyone who wanted to stay or get as close to the front as possible.

We need an engineer to tell us whether there really is anything and a number on the high banks that would allow the cars separation. Slowing the cars down just guarantees they will be together. It creates unnatural competition and equalizes the drivers (holding the good drivers back while making the less experienced and less capable drivers just as able to shove it and hold it). But do we really want to equalize the drivers? Shouldn't that be high on a list of things for Indycar to be talking about now?

Back to the banking... The banking helps keep the cars stuck to the track as it is. Take the rear wings off and remove the rw drag.... I assume that would force them to brake for the corners... but they'd be smoking fast down the straightaways. But does the banking at a track like LV still let them keep it smashed to the floor even with faster straightaway speeds?

And at what point are the speeds too much for the track?

Back to the point about airborne cars... When all 4 tires are touching pavement Indycars have made tremendous strides in predicting and understanding various impacts and creating ways to handle them. The forces are at least somewhat understood and predictable. But when the wheels lose contact and a car takes to the air then it's really Russian Roulette. Any number of things can happen to you or a surrounding car and a couple of inches one way or the other could literally be the difference in walking away with a concussion at worst, or being killed. Wheel to wheel contact is clearly the most likely scenario to get a car airborne.

The series has been really, really, really lucky that a driver hasn't been killed before now. Every time they've ran on these high banks they've really tempted fate. In fact, Renna was killed by getting airborne at a test in Indy but AFAIK nobody really knows what exactly happened in that case. But lost in that is that it clearly showed if a car gets airborne, death is a possibility. I'm not sure why it happening in practice by himself didn't set off more alarm bells than it did because we clearly know launching is possible with other cars on the track. Further, we know that pack racing and launching are potentially always a possibility because of the tight running (I hesitate to call it racing) and how little time there is to react when something happens in front of you. And when it does it's several cars, not just a couple, that are randomly getting together.

So I say all that to say (ask?) this... WTF was Randy Bernhard thinking to create this 5 million challenge to any driver to "challenge Indy's best"... on a high banked oval? Never mind it would be throwing a wild card into the drivers racing for championship points, how could anyone think it would be safe to put someone into an Indycar for their first race on this kind of track??? Fortunately, it never materialized and nobody took the series up on it (although it appeared Pastrana would've been in it had he not broken an ankle this summer). I'm sure there would've been testing and practice... but seriously... how could you prepare anyone for that racing experience? And even IF you could prepare them... the other drivers need to be familiar with the driving habits of those they race with. They would have no idea what to expect with a new guy on the track. Let alone if it would've been more than that.

Thankfully that never got off the ground and it morphed into this ride for Wheldon as a replacement idea. And there's no questioning Wheldon's ability so fortunately that wasn't a factor. And honestly, I think series officials would've worked hard to get Wheldon (current 500 winner) in a car for this final race anyway. The race was self-promoted by Indycar and they were hoping for a showcase event. The 5 mil challenge just gave them a marketing angle to use and probably a little face-saving along the way (for the failure to attract a Nascar driver or whatever).

I've wondered if traditional ovals like Loudon and Milwaukee were hurt by these high banked ovals? Do fans equate all ovals the same as far as racing goes? I wonder how many people ultimately were turned off by the manufactured close 'racing' of the high banks and spec cars? And/or saw that as too dangerous? Something the series need to look into.

I've always been a little confused with the desire for spec cars and the closed rulebook. Wouldn't costs be contained just as much by the economy as being contained by the rulebook and dumbing down racing? Why did that not need to be the way in the past if it's so important these past several seasons? In the past if someone got too big of an advantage either everyone else eventually figured it out or the series clamped down on the guy stinking up the shows. Not sure why that isn't the better way.

With the 2012 car coming online I was really disappointed to hear they were postponing the multiple aero packages. It would've been another way to separate the pack racing as well as allow for some innovation. Sometimes I wonder what the series actually costs themselves while trying to save money....


As far as the spec cars goes.... SOME of the problems mentioned here are being addressed. Too little too late for Dan Wheldon. Ironic, that the new car he was the test drive for was being built with features to address some of the problems noted and in particular the launching aspect that ultimately took his life. While there's been grumbling about how much the new cars protected the wheels I wasn't one doing any grumbling about that aspect. I also didn't grumble about the airbox remaining on the car. I figure more mass for the airbox means more protection and attenuation for an upside down car to protect the driver.

Racing is never going to be 100% safe. But also, part of the attraction is the speed. And it's not just going fast, it's the quest for speed. You cannot take that away without harming the sport IMHO (having Indycars qualifying in 2011 at the same (or less) speeds as in the early 90's is part of the problem of the sport and 500 losing the imagination of fans IMHO)... So the sport has to balance driver (and fan) safety with allowing competitors to always chase speed. Otherwise, what's the point?

If the ultimate outcome of this past weekend is deciding pack racing is always going to be the way no matter the rules on high banked tracks then I'm fine with never seeing an Indycar on a high banked track. Pack racing must stop. OTOH, if the take away is slowing the cars down and even more spec racing and pack racing then I think we're going to see the series slowly decline into oblivion. You can't just keep slowing race cars down. Sure slower is safer (altho never safe)... but where's the line? If that is the only goal then would 100MPH be too fast for an open-wheeler to keep it safe? 50MPH? It loses it's fascination. And maybe that's where we're at. Maybe AOW has crossed the threshold and the technology of speed has went past the bounds of safety that society is willing to accept? Maybe not chasing speed records is not interesting to the public but seeing drivers tempt fate is no longer acceptable either. Indycar needs to figure that out. If so, then that means there needs to be a drastic re-think on a lot of levels.

Several bullets were dodged at these high banks over the years where severe injuries and rehab was the worst case in the end. But that was more for luck than it was anything else. Sunday was likely inevitable, and could've been worse. That it happened on the last race of the season in the last race for this current spec chassis was just a cruel twist of fate... but exactly within the odds that the bullet wasn't going to continue to be dodged.

Trader Joe
10-18-2011, 02:11 PM
All I keep hearing from the drivers are the same key points and they are that a track like Vegas makes it too easy for everyone to run fast, which is basically a nice way of saying that the sucky guys get to run with the good guys which is not what they are used to. This leads to what has been the second point made the drivers, since everyone can go fast people take more chances to make the pass.

Were either of these two things the direct cause of Wheldon's crash? Maybe, but I honestly don't know.

To me it still comes back to putting a 225 MPH rocket on a circular track with that much banking and hoping nothing bad happens. Logically it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Look even Nascar recognized that on their "Easy to go fast" tracks (Daytona and Talladega) they needed to find a way to slow a car down. And stock cars can't even sniff the speed and handling that an indycar is capable of, while also being much safer.

I think Jimmie Johnson has made one of the most honest and touching assessments about yesterday. When I saw him interviewed, it was clear he knew Wheldon and was touched deeply by the loss. To paraphrase him, he basiclaly said that with the speed and the handling of these cars, tehy are built for the street races. And honestly, I'm not sure i can disagree with him. Most importantly he said this, no one would ever be able to get him to go 225 MPH in an IndyCar. He basically said he couldn't even imagine going that fast on some of the ovals they race.

I don't know what happened on Saturday, but the drivers predictions of something terrible rang so horrifyingly true that it has to be looked at in some way. Whatever it may be, we clearly saw Sunday that the current setup creates a dangerous brew of ingredients on tracks like Vegas. And it cost us the life of arguably one of the best (the best IMO) young drivers on the series.

I don't see what oval racing adds to open wheel cars. Tracks like INdy are different with their low banking and many characteristics that strike closer to a road course than a true oval. Pocono is the same.

This has just left me searching for answers, because I only know one thing for sure, what happened at Vegas Sunday was preventable. It was not a freak accident like Ayrton Senna's death where a piece of his suspension had to break off his car at a perfect angle to puncture his helmet and kill him, this was something that could have easily been prevented in several different ways, I'm just not enough of an expert to figure out exactly which way would be best.

Trader Joe
10-18-2011, 02:18 PM
Also, Indycar needs to bring back manufacturers, different ones. Look at the two most successful series in the world, NASCAR and Formula 1, a huge advantage for both of them is that they have people who are brand loyal following certains teams and manufacturers. Right now in Indycar, you really can only pick a driver or a team. There is no loyalty to a car maker.

Having one manufacturer is dumb. Racing is one of the few sports where it is good to have a few a dominant teams with lots of cash and IRL just ignores that.

BRushWithDeath
10-18-2011, 02:23 PM
Also, Indycar needs to bring back manufacturers, different ones.

Starting next year, there will be three options.

Honda, Chevrolet, and Lotus.

BRushWithDeath
10-18-2011, 02:46 PM
Many people outside the IndyCar community are saying, basically because of what Jimmie Johnson said, that open wheel race cars should not be run on ovals.

I'm a relatively novice IndyCar fan. I've only been watching for about a decade and, Indy excluded, only with significant interest for the past 3 or 4 seasons. With that said, maybe it's because I don't know a whole lot about the sport that makes the ovals, even the dumbed down high banked Nascar ones like Vegas, Texas, Chicagoland, etc. my favorites on the circuit after May. I can sit and watch a Baltimore, or Mid-Ohio, or Laguna Seca and be somewhat entertained but not as much as on the ovals. Safety wise, it makes sense for the series to go all road/street/airport tracks and become the American F-1. But it won't be as entertaining to the casual IndyCar fans like myself.

I appreciate that F-1 cars are the greatest in the world, but I'll never watch it because it bores me.

I appreciate that Nascar is the most popular series in the US, but I'll never watch it because it bores me.

IndyCars on ovals are never boring. Because the ovals are mixed it, it makes the other courses watchable for me since it impacts the standings. IndyCar was born on oval tracks.

What happened to Dan was terrible. Having an accident happen like that is horrible no matter what but right or wrong, it feels worse because it was Dan.

But removing ovals entirely, as has been suggested by some out there, is not the answer. No driver in the series would be more against that than Dan Wheldon.

Pacers13Colts12
10-18-2011, 03:03 PM
I don't see why there can't be a good mix of both oval/street courses? I never understand the logic of racing going into October anyways. The 500 should be the first race on Memorial Day Weekend with the championship on Labor Day Weekend. I'd run close to every weekend through the summer instead of having time off in between races.

Indy 500
2-3 road courses
Iowa
2-3 road courses
Milwaukee
2-3 road courses
Kentucky
2-3 road courses
O'Rielly Race Way Park
2-3 road courses
Finish on a good oval in a good market.

duke dynamite
10-18-2011, 04:30 PM
I don't see why there can't be a good mix of both oval/street courses? I never understand the logic of racing going into October anyways. The 500 should be the first race on Memorial Day Weekend with the championship on Labor Day Weekend. I'd run close to every weekend through the summer instead of having time off in between races.

Indy 500
2-3 road courses
Iowa
2-3 road courses
Milwaukee
2-3 road courses
Kentucky
2-3 road courses
O'Rielly Race Way Park
2-3 road courses
Finish on a good oval in a good market.
Texas. That was a great two races.

BTW, Kentucky is not returning. Bruton Smith wants NNS and CWS to be there in the fall for another race.

Trader Joe
10-18-2011, 05:18 PM
Maybe getting rid of ovals isn't the answer, but I think getting rid of the high banked 1.5 mile ovals might be a good idea. JMO

Sollozzo
10-18-2011, 05:50 PM
Also, Indycar needs to bring back manufacturers, different ones. Look at the two most successful series in the world, NASCAR and Formula 1, a huge advantage for both of them is that they have people who are brand loyal following certains teams and manufacturers. Right now in Indycar, you really can only pick a driver or a team. There is no loyalty to a car maker.

Having one manufacturer is dumb. Racing is one of the few sports where it is good to have a few a dominant teams with lots of cash and IRL just ignores that.



Agreed. Different brands of machine is what helped made the 500 so great to begin with.

Sandman21
10-18-2011, 06:15 PM
I've wondered if traditional ovals like Loudon and Milwaukee were hurt by these high banked ovals? Do fans equate all ovals the same as far as racing goes?
Loudon got screwed by weather this year, and Milwaukee's promoter could have cared less. That's what did them in.

I'm not sure if anyone has brought this up or not, but what about some kind of canopy over the cockpit with some way for an emergency escape? I'm concerned for the obvious fire issue, nor am I sure how to deal with it making it hard for drivers to see with oil and dirt buildup over the course of a race. but something like that wouldn't hurt to have something between the driver and a catch fence.


In light of this weekend's tragedy the knee-jerk reaction will be to blame speed first and ovals second. Blaming the speed misses the point and blaming ovals neglects that death has occurred on road and street courses in the past as well. Also, just a few weeks ago we saw Kanaan's car launch at Baltimore (a street course). It's wheel to wheel contact that is the problem. I do admit this Dallara chassis has had its share of launches but I'm not sure how much of that is the chassis and how much of that has been the amount of wheel to wheel racing this spec series racing has brought. We've never seen everyone in the same car and engine combo for this many years. That bears (IMHO) a LOT of examination heading forward.
Ironically, I think TK using Helio's backwing at Baltimore probably helped saved him from serious injury. Plus, I thought that was the result of a stuck throttle anyway (similar to early speculation on ABC about Dan on Sunday).

DaveP63
10-18-2011, 08:12 PM
This will be a little lengthy, so please bear with me.


In light of this weekend's tragedy the knee-jerk reaction will be to blame speed first and ovals second. Blaming the speed misses the point and blaming ovals neglects that death has occurred on road and street courses in the past as well. Also, just a few weeks ago we saw Kanaan's car launch at Baltimore (a street course). It's wheel to wheel contact that is the problem. I do admit this Dallara chassis has had its share of launches but I'm not sure how much of that is the chassis and how much of that has been the amount of wheel to wheel racing this spec series racing has brought. We've never seen everyone in the same car and engine combo for this many years. That bears (IMHO) a LOT of examination heading forward.

All very good points and ALL have some contribution to the overall problem. The main issue is wheel to wheel contact. IMO and the opinion of a lot of my friends that are still in the industry, the issue is exactly as pointed out above.


The cars have so much downforce and the matching engines are so equal that on a high banked track they can get no separation. It's smash the gas and go. Nobody has to brake. In fact, slowing down is not a good idea because the car behind you is so close he'll run over you if you do.

Too true. Here's a dirty little secret. Remember back in the good old days when AGR was ruling the roost? There were three different "spec" Honda engines. A, B and C. Based among other things on how much you payed for your engine lease. Guess which teams had the A's? At least back then there was a little separation.


Everyone's pretty much figured out the aero and the gearing on these cars.

Yes. Yes a thousand times yes. There isn't anything left to be found at this point. Plus you have had so much cross pollination between the teams there are no secrets left.


Honda has advertised the engine reliability. Yes, that is impressive on the surface. But then you have to consider the 'detuned' nature of the engines. Since they are competing with no one but themselves the Honda engines aren't running at peak performance. They are not trying to tweak it to be faster than another engine manufacturer. They are not running on the edge. They are running in a comfortable powerband. Another reason for the pack racing we see on high banks.

Right on the money.


Cars have to run in the pack to stick in the draft and maintain contact with the leaders.

Yep. Not enough engine power to run anything down on an open track when everybody is WOT.


In the race Sunday there were 34 cars. Any time you have a start or restart you're going to have a potential issue because that is when the cars are bunched up. But, as stated, on the high banks these cars aren't really going to separate. Maybe the 34 cars could've been a factor in a similar circumstance, but it wasn't here IMHO. Dukie made a statement about Vegas being too narrow. I'm not sure that's the case. The cars were 3 wide because the track has some of the highest banking in the series (in fact I think Vegas is the highest banking they've raced on). And from what I gather it's a smooth track. No bumps to unsettle the car. So, 3, even 4 wide was not too scary for anyone who wanted to stay or get as close to the front as possible.

Not too narrow. Too smooth and too grippy.


We need an engineer to tell us whether there really is anything and a number on the high banks that would allow the cars separation. Slowing the cars down just guarantees they will be together. It creates unnatural competition and equalizes the drivers (holding the good drivers back while making the less experienced and less capable drivers just as able to shove it and hold it). But do we really want to equalize the drivers? Shouldn't that be high on a list of things for Indycar to be talking about now? Back to the banking... The banking helps keep the cars stuck to the track as it is. Take the rear wings off and remove the rw drag.... I assume that would force them to brake for the corners... but they'd be smoking fast down the straightaways. But does the banking at a track like LV still let them keep it smashed to the floor even with faster straightaway speeds?

And at what point are the speeds too much for the track?

Tracks...Here's the deal. Let's look at mile tracks. There are only two of the traditional "flat" Indy car tracks that I can think of that still exist. Phoenix and Milwaukee. The only other "flat" track I can think of is Louden. OK, I'll toss in Richmond, too. Everything else is strip malls or shuttered. Let's try to think of someplace else they could possibly run. Let's get them the hell off the banks. Aero and banking = WOT. You can take wings away or increase horsepower, but it won't take long for the mechanical grip to catch up to the point where you can go WOT on the banks...Again.


Back to the point about airborne cars... When all 4 tires are touching pavement Indycars have made tremendous strides in predicting and understanding various impacts and creating ways to handle them. The forces are at least somewhat understood and predictable. But when the wheels lose contact and a car takes to the air then it's really Russian Roulette. Any number of things can happen to you or a surrounding car and a couple of inches one way or the other could literally be the difference in walking away with a concussion at worst, or being killed. Wheel to wheel contact is clearly the most likely scenario to get a car airborne.

Yes. That will do it every time. The flat bottom is what makes them fly at high speeds. The roulette analogy is absolutely right.


The series has been really, really, really lucky that a driver hasn't been killed before now. Every time they've ran on these high banks they've really tempted fate. In fact, Renna was killed by getting airborne at a test in Indy but AFAIK nobody really knows what exactly happened in that case. But lost in that is that it clearly showed if a car gets airborne, death is a possibility. I'm not sure why it happening in practice by himself didn't set off more alarm bells than it did because we clearly know launching is possible with other cars on the track. Further, we know that pack racing and launching are potentially always a possibility because of the tight running (I hesitate to call it racing) and how little time there is to react when something happens in front of you. And when it does it's several cars, not just a couple, that are randomly getting together.

This. There is ZERO time to react. 200 yards per second. ZERO time.



I've wondered if traditional ovals like Loudon and Milwaukee were hurt by these high banked ovals? Do fans equate all ovals the same as far as racing goes? I wonder how many people ultimately were turned off by the manufactured close 'racing' of the high banks and spec cars? And/or saw that as too dangerous? Something the series need to look into.

I wish I knew the answer to that one.


I've always been a little confused with the desire for spec cars and the closed rulebook. Wouldn't costs be contained just as much by the economy as being contained by the rulebook and dumbing down racing? Why did that not need to be the way in the past if it's so important these past several seasons? In the past if someone got too big of an advantage either everyone else eventually figured it out or the series clamped down on the guy stinking up the shows. Not sure why that isn't the better way.

IMO, it is a better way. Sometimes I think the owners wanted to be saved from themselves.


With the 2012 car coming online I was really disappointed to hear they were postponing the multiple aero packages. It would've been another way to separate the pack racing as well as allow for some innovation. Sometimes I wonder what the series actually costs themselves while trying to save money....

Rather a lot, I suspect. Rumor has it that the pushback on the new aero kits was not necessarily from the lower tier teams. It was the big boys on the block who didn't want one of the other big boys getting an advantage because they found something in the package that they might have missed. Limits on packages be damned, you can bet they would have found a way to wring out every single one of them before making a choice.


As far as the spec cars goes.... SOME of the problems mentioned here are being addressed. Too little too late for Dan Wheldon. Ironic, that the new car he was the test drive for was being built with features to address some of the problems noted and in particular the launching aspect that ultimately took his life. While there's been grumbling about how much the new cars protected the wheels I wasn't one doing any grumbling about that aspect. I also didn't grumble about the airbox remaining on the car. I figure more mass for the airbox means more protection and attenuation for an upside down car to protect the driver.

The roll hoop is what is supposed to do that job. The hoop is attached (bolted) to the monocoque behind the cockpit and above the fuel cell. It is bolted on so that it can be removed if needed to get the driver out using a back board or seat safety system. You can easily pick the car up using the roll hoop, so it's quite strong and an integral part of the structure. There is a minimum clearance between the drivers head, the top of the roll hoop and a point in front of the cockpit. In this case, the roll hoop was severed from the chassis by what most likely was a fence post leaving the upper part driver's head exposed. The airbox, while strong enough to hold the car up of you gently tipped it over and eased it down on to it, is just a carbon fiber cowling and the main portion is the intake system for the engine.


Racing is never going to be 100% safe. But also, part of the attraction is the speed. And it's not just going fast, it's the quest for speed. You cannot take that away without harming the sport IMHO (having Indycars qualifying in 2011 at the same (or less) speeds as in the early 90's is part of the problem of the sport and 500 losing the imagination of fans IMHO)... So the sport has to balance driver (and fan) safety with allowing competitors to always chase speed. Otherwise, what's the point?

Excellent observation!!!


If the ultimate outcome of this past weekend is deciding pack racing is always going to be the way no matter the rules on high banked tracks then I'm fine with never seeing an Indycar on a high banked track. Pack racing must stop. OTOH, if the take away is slowing the cars down and even more spec racing and pack racing then I think we're going to see the series slowly decline into oblivion. You can't just keep slowing race cars down. Sure slower is safer (altho never safe)... but where's the line? If that is the only goal then would 100MPH be too fast for an open-wheeler to keep it safe? 50MPH? It loses it's fascination. And maybe that's where we're at. Maybe AOW has crossed the threshold and the technology of speed has went past the bounds of safety that society is willing to accept? Maybe not chasing speed records is not interesting to the public but seeing drivers tempt fate is no longer acceptable either. Indycar needs to figure that out. If so, then that means there needs to be a drastic re-think on a lot of levels.

I'm going to think about this for a day or two and offer up a possible solution.


Several bullets were dodged at these high banks over the years where severe injuries and rehab was the worst case in the end. But that was more for luck than it was anything else. Sunday was likely inevitable, and could've been worse. That it happened on the last race of the season in the last race for this current spec chassis was just a cruel twist of fate... but exactly within the odds that the bullet wasn't going to continue to be dodged.

Agreed 100%


All I keep hearing from the drivers are the same key points and they are that a track like Vegas makes it too easy for everyone to run fast, which is basically a nice way of saying that the sucky guys get to run with the good guys which is not what they are used to. This leads to what has been the second point made the drivers, since everyone can go fast people take more chances to make the pass.

Were either of these two things the direct cause of Wheldon's crash? Maybe, but I honestly don't know.

To me it still comes back to putting a 225 MPH rocket on a circular track with that much banking and hoping nothing bad happens. Logically it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Look even Nascar recognized that on their "Easy to go fast" tracks (Daytona and Talladega) they needed to find a way to slow a car down. And stock cars can't even sniff the speed and handling that an indycar is capable of, while also being much safer.


Those two things are right, Joe. Right as rain.


Also, Indycar needs to bring back manufacturers, different ones. Look at the two most successful series in the world, NASCAR and Formula 1, a huge advantage for both of them is that they have people who are brand loyal following certains teams and manufacturers. Right now in Indycar, you really can only pick a driver or a team. There is no loyalty to a car maker.

Having one manufacturer is dumb. Racing is one of the few sports where it is good to have a few a dominant teams with lots of cash and IRL just ignores that.

YES!!! Unfortunately, we seem to be the only ones that get it...


Maybe getting rid of ovals isn't the answer, but I think getting rid of the high banked 1.5 mile ovals might be a good idea. JMO

Again, YES!!!!

Trader Joe
10-18-2011, 10:50 PM
So I guess, I just don't understand why IRL went to all Honda engines anyway. Whining from teams? Money from Honda? Getting dominated by Cart teams in the 500? What was the catalyst? I guess I'm just one of those people that is ok with there being 3 or 4 elite teams and then everyone else. That's how it is in F1 and that's really how it is in NASCAR. If NASCAR can create some competitive differences using those hunks of metal then there is no good reason why IRL can't do the same. Hopefully Lotus, Chevy and Honda will do that, and hopefully those brands will acutally invest money in their top teams and drivers.

The bottom line I think we can all agree on is that the equation cannot continue to look like All same engine+All same aero+high banked ovals, what we change from that is up for debate, but I think we can all agree that the saddest thing about Wheldon's death isn't that it honestly shouldn't be a surprise, and that the IRL is lucky as all hell that it doesn't happen once or twice a season with their current setup.

Trader Joe
10-18-2011, 11:41 PM
Just FYI IndyStar currently has a picture in their gallery of Wheldon, well I'm just going to go ahead and say it, Wheldon's body being loaded on to the emergency helicopter. I don't know how much longer it will be up, but it is pretty clear from the photo that Dan has already passed by the time this is taking place. His body is covered by a sheet on the stretcher and they are not performing any life sustaining procedures. Likely that he was just transported to the hospital to be pronounced dead to help with paperwork the same way Senna's body was. Sort of can't believe they have this picture up on there.

DaveP63
10-19-2011, 06:52 AM
So I guess, I just don't understand why IRL went to all Honda engines anyway. Whining from teams? Money from Honda? Getting dominated by Cart teams in the 500? What was the catalyst? I guess I'm just one of those people that is ok with there being 3 or 4 elite teams and then everyone else. That's how it is in F1 and that's really how it is in NASCAR. If NASCAR can create some competitive differences using those hunks of metal then there is no good reason why IRL can't do the same. Hopefully Lotus, Chevy and Honda will do that, and hopefully those brands will acutally invest money in their top teams and drivers.

The bottom line I think we can all agree on is that the equation cannot continue to look like All same engine+All same aero+high banked ovals, what we change from that is up for debate, but I think we can all agree that the saddest thing about Wheldon's death isn't that it honestly shouldn't be a surprise, and that the IRL is lucky as all hell that it doesn't happen once or twice a season with their current setup.

Honda was the dominant engine package. Toyota was bleeding teams and wanted to ramp up their NASCRAP program. Honda offered the best lease deal for exclusivity. After they got it, *****ing from the teams caused them to do away with the A, B, C engines and everybody got the same deal on what was basically a lotto system. Great money maker for Honda, since all they had to do is regular maintenance on high time engines. Never blew one in competition, so what does that tell us?

Trader Joe
10-19-2011, 10:20 AM
That they weren't being used to their limits?

travmil
10-19-2011, 03:10 PM
So I guess this is as good a place to ask as any.

Where does this leave Andretti for 2012? Do they stand pat at three teams or do they try to bring in another driver for the car Wheldon signed on for? If they bring in someone else, who? You see, this is the part of the sport I don't know. I only follow the races and the standings. I don't know the things that go on behind the scenes that make the sport go like some of you do. I'd be interested to know what you guys think Andretti will do.

Trader Joe
10-19-2011, 03:18 PM
I don't think they could drop GoDaddy as a sponsor, so they will either have to find someone for that team or move someone over from another one of the teams.

DaveP63
10-19-2011, 04:49 PM
I'd be surprised if there wasn't a list of potential drivers. As cold as it sounds, they'll probably go to #2 on the list if that's what Go Daddy wants.

Stryder
10-19-2011, 05:32 PM
Allow teams to push the limits on the engines and everything else...the whole detuning thing is crap...the whole everyone is the same is crap.

Sandman21
10-19-2011, 06:04 PM
I don't think they could drop GoDaddy as a sponsor, so they will either have to find someone for that team or move someone over from another one of the teams.

I think they move Marco or RHR into that seat and call up Stefan Wilson from the Indy Lights series. Or, if they can lure him away from Sam Schmidt, Josef Newgarden.

Bball
10-19-2011, 10:11 PM
Greg Moore was set for a ride with Team Penske with only the Fontana race left in that final race of the season and of his old contract. He was killed in that race leaving a Penske seat open. Helio Castronevous was then chosen for the ride.

So I'd expect things to work along those same lines for Andretti and the GoDaddy car. One thing to remember is Go Daddy almost certainly has a lot of say in who drives the car they sponsor. And they could certainly decide they were only interested in sponsoring Wheldon and not approve of any of the other options which would likely hurt Andretti's chances of fielding that 4th car at all. It even could have ramifications with the other Andretti cars assuming that GoDaddy money was to be used as an umbrella for operating costs of the organization and not somehow funneled to the GoDaddy car alone.

Bball
10-20-2011, 02:13 AM
Something I thought about but forgot to mention... Catch fences... Are there things that could be done to improve safety from that angle as well as the cars?

I can't think of what it would be but then I couldn't have thought up the SAFER barrier either.

duke dynamite
10-20-2011, 11:06 AM
Something I thought about but forgot to mention... Catch fences... Are there things that could be done to improve safety from that angle as well as the cars?

I can't think of what it would be but then I couldn't have thought up the SAFER barrier either.
Nothing off the top of my head I can think of that could be done about the catch fences without limiting visibility for the fans.

Bball
10-20-2011, 11:38 AM
And overall the catch fences have proven fairly successful in keeping cars out of the grandstands... which is really their purpose. But if there is a way to improve them for driver safety without compromising their current strengths then of course it should be looked into.

Trader Joe
10-20-2011, 12:07 PM
Will Power said to day that if you hit the catch fence you are as good as dead and he thinks that if he hit the fence instead of the wall, he would be dead right now too. I think the theory is they don't give enough.

DaveP63
10-20-2011, 01:13 PM
A few random, scattered thoughts...

How to get rid of pack racing: I'll reset a few things already mentioned. More HP, less aero. Eliminate WOT racing and make it necessary for the drivers to actually slow for corners. One thing that's not been mentioned (that I know of) that would also help increase separation is the tires. They are too damn consistent on most surfaces. Change the compounds so there is more performance degradation over the length of the tire run. 1-2 seconds difference ought to do it. The safety aspect of the cars for rear wheel contact has been addressed by the additions to the new chassis. If testing reveals they need "tweaked" I'm sure it will be a high priority.

Fencing: This is the thing that's been occupying my mind the most. I've seen suggestions for plexiglass/lexan covering the fence and all sorts of other suggestions. Here's the problem. Splinters. Why did we do away with trackside wooden billboards and guardrail posts? Splinters. There were drivers killed by splinters. That's why we don't use wood. Lexan sheets thick enough to keep cars out of the fence without fracturing would be ungodly heavy and would present it's own problems in suspending it in front of the fencing. Ultimately, it might get solved, but I think it would cause more problems than it's fixing. The fence must have some "give" or it's just another hard crash wall. The problem is two fold. The fence is actually supported by large steel cables. The cables are there to strengthen the fence and keep the bigger bits (engines, etc) out of the stands. Because of the weight, they must be supported by posts. A lot of posts. (Note: What look like posts on a lot of the pictures that are zoomed out are actually light poles). Here's the problem I think. The fence must have some give to aid in energy absorption and so it's not a giant slingshot. We've identified that there are heavy steel cables and metal posts involved. Let's see if we can find a way to make a lighter, energy absorbing "fence" so we can do away with the cables. Then let's look at a modified system similar to the safer barriers for suspending it so there's some standoff from the posts.

DaveP63
10-20-2011, 01:15 PM
I think they move Marco or RHR into that seat and call up Stefan Wilson from the Indy Lights series. Or, if they can lure him away from Sam Schmidt, Josef Newgarden.

Newgarden would be a good get.

duke dynamite
10-20-2011, 02:20 PM
I think Alex Tagliani would be a decent fit for Andretti. His contract with Sam Schmidt is up. He might end up returning to SSM, though.

Sandman21
10-20-2011, 06:08 PM
Thank you Bob Jenkins!

http://www.bobjenkinsracing.com/news/

Good to see him, AJ, Mario, and Jay Howard (who said Jimmeh didn't have the kahonas to step into a Indycar to begin with) fighting back against these critics who could have cared less about Indycar before Sunday.

Trader Joe
10-20-2011, 08:02 PM
How is Jimmie Johnson a critic of IndyCar? He basically said himself he wasn't ballsy enough to do it and that those cars are too advanced for ovals. How is that being critical? It sounds like a compliment to me.

His very first stat, comparing the number of deaths, is incredibly skewed considering how many more stock car races and drivers there are.

Bball
10-21-2011, 12:49 AM
If you put an egg in a solid steel box and drop the box the egg will still break so the open cockpit isn't as dangerous per se (in comparison to Nascar) as it seems on first glance.

Trader Joe
10-21-2011, 08:42 AM
The open cockpit's extra dangers are not necessarily just in situations like we saw with Dan on Sunday, but they are there. You are much more exposed to the flying debris off your car, which is how Senna died in '94.

DaveP63
10-21-2011, 04:26 PM
There have been talks about canopies and whatnot as a preventative measure to keep drivers from getting hit in the head. I can see a whole host of difficulties with implementing something like that, not the least of which is making is strong enough to survive that kind of impact, but at this point, if they want to put rub rails around it like an indoor go kart, I'm on board.

DaveP63
10-21-2011, 06:49 PM
Driver's meeting scheduled at the Speedway on Monday. Randy B and whatever drivers are still in town. Discussing safety topics, new car, 1.5 mile tracks and where the series goes from here.

duke dynamite
10-21-2011, 07:25 PM
There have been talks about canopies and whatnot as a preventative measure to keep drivers from getting hit in the head. I can see a whole host of difficulties with implementing something like that, not the least of which is making is strong enough to survive that kind of impact, but at this point, if they want to put rub rails around it like an indoor go kart, I'm on board.
Wait, isn't that NASCAR? :hmm:

DaveP63
10-22-2011, 05:51 AM
Fighter jet style, but canopies none the less...I may have to draw the line at tube frames and roll cages...And "splitters"...And spoilers...

Sandman21
10-22-2011, 05:33 PM
If it has a chance of saving the life of a driver going headfirst into a catch fence, then I think it needs to be on the table. No more Gordon Smileys or Tony Rennas or Dan Wheldons for me.

Sandman21
10-23-2011, 12:50 PM
BTW, we lost IronManMike this morning.

Trader Joe
10-23-2011, 09:10 PM
A fighter jet style cockpit would be cool, but I imagine it presents issues because it would get incredibly uncomfortable in there.

Trader Joe
10-23-2011, 09:14 PM
BTW, we lost IronManMike this morning.

The only thing that was comforting about this was knowing that Dan was there to greet the little guy on the other side. Perhaps everything does happen for a reason...You couldn't ask for a better smiling face to welcome you to eternity than Dan's.

Sollozzo
10-23-2011, 10:05 PM
I was out running some errands today and decided to drive by the Speedway. From my car, I was able to get a decent look at the makeshift memorial at the 16th and Georgetown entrance. There were several people stopped looking at it and now I wish I would have parked and got out of my car.

It was moving to see all the tributes put up for him.

Bball
10-25-2011, 01:00 PM
I still have several thoughts about things Indycar needs to do or seek input on moving forward and some other thoughts.

A scattered, random sampling:

We're talking about the pack racing and getting rid of it. One answer is to quit neglecting the elephant sitting on the living room sofa- Open the damn rule book up and get rid of the spec cars. Allow teams much more flexibility in what they can do with the aero packages and setups. Start getting away from the idea that builders must agree to supply a percentage of the field, especially at the micro-levels.

Find out exactly why oval racing has lost it's appeal so sharply these past few years. Bad promotion? Not enough drivers that capture the imagination of casual fans? 1.5 mile oval races looking too much like 'manufactured racing'... looking too dangerous... not appealing to fans that prefer Nascar on them.... ??? Sanction fees too high and taking up too much of the promoter's budget leaving advertising and marketing neglected (with a series that can't afford that)? Not enough self promotion by the series (or self promotion that is missing the target)? Too many races lost to viewers (or lack of) on Versus? And what of the ovals like Milwaukee or Loudon... why are they poorly attended? All ovals are not created equal so why are all suffering? I don't think we can keep blaming the local promoters. At some point Indycar is going to have to look in the mirror and figure out where they can do a better job helping local promoters.

And are all ovals really suffering... or is it just these mega grandstand Nascar tracks making it look that way and creating this negative perception? Getting 30,000 at a track that seats 30,000 is a smashing success.... getting 30,000 at a track that seats 100,000 is a dismal failure?

Although I still think ESPN/ABC does a really bad job on their Indycar race productions I have a new found respect for Marty Reid in light of his work during the Vegas broadcast and his appearance at the memorial at Conseco. I think I had the wrong opinion of Reid just because of his association with ESPN/ABC. Todd Harris he is not.

This outpouring of support for Wheldon and his family should show people that Indy still matters. It's still relevant. Whatever the series and associates do, they should keep that in mind.

DaveP63
10-25-2011, 06:38 PM
I'll try to find out some specifics about what's being tossed around the room at the speedway meetings. I suspect some of what you mentioned is being openly discussed.

Second paragraph. Yes. To all of it. My pet peeve? Putting it out to die on Versus. I don't get Versus unless it's a free preview and I've got the 200 package. It sucks.

Third item. Self perpetuating problem. The cookie cutters all wanted Neckcar races. They all added 100K seats for all the Neckcar fans. As you point out, 30K in 100K seats looks pitiful. However, they are now seeing 50K in those 100K seats at a lot of tracks. They may start quietly removing some seats. I think the boom is over. I watched the start at Talledega this weekend. As soon as it broke up into 2 car "packs" I turned it off and took a nap. Even THEY are starting to get the message that people are bored and sickened by this manufactured pack racing and all it entails.

As for the last two, right on the money and I couldn't agree more. I used to hate Marty and Eddie especially. Both did yeoman's service during the broadcast.

DaveP63
10-25-2011, 07:19 PM
Update:

Nothing concrete coming out of the meetings, but Dallara are hoping that there aren't too many engineering changes mandated since they are already behind production of the new cars. Surprise, surprise...

Bball
10-26-2011, 12:43 PM
Bernhard speaks-
http://www.indystar.com/article/20111026/SPORTS0107/111026008/IndyCar-CEO-Randy-Bernard-revisits-horrific-week-

It's not a vanilla interview per se' but much of the information you could guess what was said by following Indycar this season.

DaveP63
10-26-2011, 04:14 PM
Also, there may be some issues with engine suppliers...

Bball
10-29-2011, 12:28 AM
Bruce Martin>INSIDE RACING

Wheldon's fatal crash prompts closer look at Vegas fence design

In Nevada, and at sister Speedway Motorsports Inc. (SMI) tracks in Texas, Kentucky and New Hampshire, the steel supports are on the racetrack side, with the fencing located behind them on the grandstand side. At Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all non-SMI tracks on the 2011 schedule, the fencing is on the racetrack side, with the steel supports behind them on the grandstand side.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/bruce_martin/10/26/wheldon.crash.fence.las.vegas/index.html#ixzz1c8pebKhI


Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/bruce_martin/10/26/wheldon.crash.fence.las.vegas/index.html#ixzz1c8pS48Z4

This surprised me because I know a ruckus was made over this issue following another car getting into the fence. Either Brack's or Hamilton's IIRC. I thought at the time the IRL had mandated the issue was going to change. But apparently not.... Not only that but from the article and interviews it would appear no further testing was done either.

I'm not going to pretend to know how much this issue matters in general or to this particular accident, but considering I know the issue of the posts has been at the forefront of an accident in the past I'm a little surprised series officials don't have some data on this and studies to point to.

DaveP63
10-29-2011, 08:21 AM
Excellent article. Sounds like somebody at 16th and Georgetown dropped the ball on following up on this. Or they decided they didn't give a ****...I don't know what kind of raving lunatic would think having the posts trackside is a good idea. The euros picked up on that about the same time we introduced them to seat belts.

Bball
10-29-2011, 04:10 PM
I'd like to hear some more inside scoop on this fence issue. What it smells like is that Indycar didn't have the clout to get tracks to change their fencing so they made the choice to run the tracks as-is versus their only other alternative... refusing to run the tracks until this was changed (fully knowing the tracks would just shrug and say "no Indycar then").

If that is true then there probably wasn't much testing or research done on the issue because they probably didn't want to know what the data might show.

Hopefully I'm wrong....

Bball
10-29-2011, 10:25 PM
Full article- http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/95688



Zanardi hits out at pack racing in IndyCar following Wheldon's death

"As I often say, it's not speed the cause of such a crash. If anything, it could be an aggravating factor," Zanardi said in an interview with Autosprint magazine.

"My early years of oval racing, up to 1998, were always very dangerous. Back then, setting up the car meant finding a compromise on the car's speed. You would let it slide until the downforce wasn't yet too low in a way that penalises turn speed too much.

"It was drift driving, and tyre degradation was an important parameter. If a driver crashed against the wall, it was usually his own mistake after he had underestimated these factors.

"Nowadays, instead, driving has become too easy. At turn entry, mid turn, and turn exit, the car is attached to the road surface. In the name of safety - in principle it was even right - the intention was to slow down the cars by giving them an exaggerated amount of downforce, and therefore high drag.

"The result was that, in order to find speed, you now see set-ups with the front being 7cm higher than the rear to lessen the wing's influence! This is nonsense, but it's a necessity to beat the stop watch."

He's not a fan of the Handford device:


"At the beginning of 1998, the Handford wing was introduced in our series. It was a sort of an L-shaped Gurney flap attached backwards, and it was supposed to slow down the cars by generating drag. After the first race I, Michael Andretti and Greg Moore were literally assaulted by enthusiastic journalists who would say what a great race it was, what spectacle.

"We looked at each other and, without having agreed beforehand, we replied simultaneously: 'Have you seen the same race as us?'

"For us it had been crap: with the Handford you couldn't open up a gap to your rival anymore.

"Our job wasn't to race anymore, it was to wait to catch the final slipstream. No more talent, just strategy and that's it. In the long term, this has made the Indy audience fall out of love too.

And another voice confirming what I believe to be the obvious-


"With these cars, instead, you drive by always keeping the inside white line as your reference, just because that's the shortest line; the car is glued to the track anyway. But I prefer to race with 1,000 bhp while having to manage the car, instead of nowadays' 650 bhp and these absurd levels of grip."

DaveP63
10-30-2011, 09:13 AM
I'd like to hear some more inside scoop on this fence issue. What it smells like is that Indycar didn't have the clout to get tracks to change their fencing so they made the choice to run the tracks as-is versus their only other alternative... refusing to run the tracks until this was changed (fully knowing the tracks would just shrug and say "no Indycar then").

If that is true then there probably wasn't much testing or research done on the issue because they probably didn't want to know what the data might show.

Hopefully I'm wrong....

I asked, and you are not far off the mark.

Bball
11-01-2011, 03:56 AM
An interview with Bruce Ashmore

Ashmore believes IndyCar needs a much more open rule book aimed at encouraging multiple car builders and more exciting cars. But he's convinced the IndyCar organization is lost amid the maze of spec car thinking and has given up any faith in a free and open market.



The Way It Is/ An opportunity lost?
by Gordon Kirby

Last week I discussed the problems with racing Indy cars on high-banked ovals with Bruce Ashmore. At the end of last week's column Ashmore said he believes IndyCar has made only minor incremental changes both in terms of crash safety and eliminating safety problems with the dreaded 'pack racing'. This week we explore more of Ashmore's analysis of the new Dallara and discuss what the correct formula should be for Indy cars.

First of all, most fans and all the drivers, past and present, want to see more power. The fans want the drivers to lift for the corners, use the brakes, then get back on the power and drive their cars, using their advantage in every area to cleanly execute a pass rather than droning around in packs straining for lap after lap to gain the tiniest advantage. Using the brakes and throttle to best effect is what automobile racing was all about for most of a century until NASCAR invented restrictor plate racing and the IRL followed suit with its squalid little formula.

Personally, I think the classic CART car with tiny speedway wings was as elegant an Indy car as there's ever been. It worked well and put on a good show on all types of tracks with plenty of power--900 and upwards of 1,000 horsepower--to be able to pass and race back and forth. It was necessary to get out of the throttle for the corners and possibly use the brakes, then judiciously get back on the power. Ashmore believes the 2012 Dallara-Honda/Chevy/Lotus combination is only a small step in the direction of the old CART formula and falls far short of the objective.

"They're trying to go somewhere else to create what was there before," Ashmore remarks. "Well, that's not right. Go back to what was there before. I'm sure you can attain what was there before if you go back to that formula. There was nothing wrong with it. So just re-run it."

Ashmore has no doubts the power needs to be substantially increased.

"It needs to be 1,000 horsepower," he declares. "Going to 550 or 700 bhp is nothing. It's not enough of a change to make it interesting. It needs to be 1,000 horsepower. Then on the road and street courses and the mile ovals the cars will be a handful and will be hard to drive.

"You never hear the drivers talk today about how hard the cars are to drive. When I came into CART in the eighties every weekend was a struggle about how to keep the tires under the driver. You worked on that all the time trying to get the car through the whole race. But now everything is the same through the whole race. Everyone goes 'round and 'round at exactly the same speed with no change. They're not being strained. They're too easy to drive. And nobody can pass."

It's true not only on oval tracks but also at road courses like Mid-Ohio and Infineon Raceway where passing is equally impossible and a procession ensues looking more like Indy Lights or GP2 cars than full-blooded Indy cars. Given that the new formula is likely to retain the same characteristics as the old one the new Dallara's bodywork has been designed to attempt to reduce the chance of wheels interlocking and cars flying. The idea was a key component in Ashmore's BAT design and he believes the new Dallara doesn't go far enough in this regard.

http://www.gordonkirby.com/images/columns/theway/2010/GK233-3.jpg

"I've wanted to stop wheels interlocking and tread to tread contact for some time," Ashmore comments. "I worked on it and discussed it in the CART days and then in the IRL. When you're cornering at the maximum of the vehicle's grip as soon as the tires touch each other tread to tread one car lifts off the road and it goes sideways and then the crash happens.

"They think they've made some steps on that but they've still designed a car with a flimsy front wing, a flimsy piece of bodywork around the front wheels and no bodywork behind the rear of the front tire. The front tire is still exposed so you can still have a tread to tread or interlocking wheel accident which is what starts the flying accident. And that will still happen with the new car. They think they've solved it because that was in their mandate. But if you look at what they've designed the bodywork is not strong enough to stop the start of the accident."

Ashmore also believes not enough attention has been paid to the driver's seating position.

"I think the drivers need to sit more upright so they don't crush the driver's spine when they crash," he suggests. "I don't believe the seat is that much different in the new Dallara. They've made a change but it's only a small step. It's not a big enough change. We knew that the CART car had a problem and we needed to sit the driver in a more upright position.

"I know from the study I made to design our BAT car that the car you needed to make would not fit into an Indy car transporter. You need a more upright seating position and another four or five inches above the driver's head for the roll hoop and it's too tall to go into an Indy car transporter. It would have to go in a NASCAR transporter. But they specified the car had to fit in the current IndyCar transporter because the teams couldn't afford scrapping or modifying all their transporters.



"So everything is a compromise. They spent all that time going to a new car and then they boxed themselves into a corner. Then on top of all that they've further compromised it by telling the teams they've got to race on NASCAR racetracks."

Ashmore has a bleak view of the process that took place in last year's contest for IndyCar's 2012 car. He believes each of the contestants was used unethically by IndyCar and Dallara to produce the new car.

"In my view the way they went about it was quite dishonest. All of us competing car builders had to sign our ideas away. All our ideas went into a pot and we had to sign a document saying that if we didn't win the contract they kept our ideas.

"That's one thing, but the sad part is they awarded the contract to a racing car building company in Italy who are just building another in a range of racing cars. It's a lot like their other cars and they're not using all the ideas that we put forward. They're only scratching the surface and, as I say, making a five percent step. They completely ignored a lot of what we suggested. They've just done what they felt like.

"All of our ideas and Lola's ideas and Swift's and the Delta Wing group's ideas went in and they took our ideas to make this new car. But they only took a small portion of them so that they've only made a five percent step. So what's the point?"

Ashmore remains dismayed and deeply disappointed with the way the Iconic committee's decision unfolded.

"I put my heart and soul into the design of a car that I believe they wanted to win the bid. I designed what I thought should have been the next Indy car and it could have been used as a rule book or it could have been used as a spec car. I offered it both ways. It would have been a spec car built in Indianapolis with Indianapolis companies and suppliers. Or it could have been used as a rule book.

"We lost the bid because the winner put in a business plan, not a plan for the car. It was a building on Main Street in Speedway and a business plan for the build and supply of all the cars but nothing for the design of the car. The rest of us believed we were putting in a plan for the design of a car and that the winner would be the best design.


"I stand by the car I designed. It would have been a game-changer. It was a much bigger step change than what Dallara has done."

Ashmore also believes IndyCar has set Dallara up for some difficult if not impossible budget-balancing.

"They've been stuck to a budget," he says. "They've been told what price to sell the car for. People don't understand that when you dictate that you've got to have this carbon fiber chassis and carbon fiber wings and a lighter aluminum gearbox. They've dictated a lot of the more expensive items in the manufacturing but they've also dictated the sales price too. It's ridiculous.

"If you really want to have a cheaper price and better product then let the rules be open about the materials. Maybe you would use a lot more steel fabrication and the weight would go up but it would be cheaper. I believe the weight they set was unrealistically light and the materials are unrealistically expensive, so they have to compromise."

Ashmore is equally sure that IndyCar's 2012 engine rules are too restrictive.

"If you look at the rules that they've saddled Chevy, Honda and Lotus with, they're going to build the same thing. Okay, there will be three different badges on three different engines but the rules are so tight that you can't make anything really different."

Nor is he aware of much if any activity in the Dallara project from the American or Indianapolis racing industry's component manufacturers and suppliers.

"The cars are being built in Italy and the gearboxes (Xtrac) are being built in England," Ashmore says. "I don't know anybody in America who's making components for that car which is very sad because IndyCar seem to have conned the government officials in Indianapolis along with the Indiana tax payers who ultimately are footing the bill for the grants to the team owners to subsidize the purchase of this new car, a car that was supposed to have had its components made in America."

Ashmore believes IndyCar needs a much more open rule book aimed at encouraging multiple car builders and more exciting cars. But he's convinced the IndyCar organization is lost amid the maze of spec car thinking and has given up any faith in a free and open market.

"You need to have a rulebook with a few simple rules," he says. "You've got to come up with something that reduces the downforce. The price will take care of itself because as soon as you've got competition in the pitlane one guy will figure out how to make a cheaper car and will outsell the other guy. That's what happened before in the CART days and that's what they need to do again. You need to have multiple chassis builders and multiple engine builders and you need to not run them on the tracks we know they don't work on."

Ashmore is a big believer in IndyCar returning to America's great road courses and developing a schedule of races much like CART enjoyed at its height.

"They need to go back to nice venues like Laguna Seca and Elkhart Lake," he comments. "The reason I thought CART worked so well was it had a very good mix of venues. The teams were owned by wealthy car owners and they wanted to go to nice places and they would bring along their friends who would bring along sponsors. So as the cost went up the sponsorship went up but there were nice places to go to. I thought it was really clever.

"We went to Canada in Toronto and Vancouver and then when we went outside North America we went to Surfers Paradise in Australia. All of them were really nice places and attractive to sponsors. Almost every race was a nice race to go to. There were a few odd ones like the Michigan 500 but they thought they ought to race there because it was near Detroit.

"It was fun and it worked, but you go in the paddock today and everyone is miserable. They don't have any sponsorship and they don't enjoy the cars or venues. They don't know why they're doing it."

Ashmore reflected on how CART's many managers and marketing men told the teams and the car and engine builders through the organization's hedays that the fans turned out only to see the drivers. There was little or no appeal in the cars or engines claimed those many geniuses who helped drive CART into the ground.

"When it was 1,000 horsepower and four engine companies were going at it and you had all the combinations of three different chassis and four engines we were always told that wasn't what the fans came to see," Ashmore recalls. "We were told they came to see the star drivers and we always wondered how true that was. We used to ask let's see what happens when everybody is driving the same equipment. Let's see how many fans you've got. I guess we have the answer to that today don't we?"

We've witnessed a sad, inexorably silly and lethal story over the past fifteen years. The lack of leadership, technically and otherwise, has been stunning. And so it continues.

http://www.gordonkirby.com/categories/columns/theway/2011/the_way_it_is_no310.html

DaveP63
11-01-2011, 05:54 AM
The best rant on the subject, ever!!!

Bball
11-01-2011, 12:04 PM
The best rant on the subject, ever!!!

I agree. There was so much I agree with that I had a hard time finding things to highlight. I wanted to highlight entire thing.

This has been my overriding thought for some time:
Ashmore believes IndyCar needs a much more open rule book aimed at encouraging multiple car builders and more exciting cars. But he's convinced the IndyCar organization is lost amid the maze of spec car thinking and has given up any faith in a free and open market.

They need to step outside the box that has them thinking this spec car BS is actually saving teams money. If it's lowering fan interest then it's also COSTING them money. Let alone not forget the idea that with competition and budgets it's going to naturally control costs.

As for any ideas about Nascar having the right idea.... Has anyone been looking at the stands in Nascar lately?

DaveP63
11-01-2011, 04:45 PM
I agree. There was so much I agree with that I had a hard time finding things to highlight. I wanted to highlight entire thing.

This has been my overriding thought for some time:
Ashmore believes IndyCar needs a much more open rule book aimed at encouraging multiple car builders and more exciting cars. But he's convinced the IndyCar organization is lost amid the maze of spec car thinking and has given up any faith in a free and open market.

They need to step outside the box that has them thinking this spec car BS is actually saving teams money. If it's lowering fan interest then it's also COSTING them money. Let alone not forget the idea that with competition and budgets it's going to naturally control costs.

As for any ideas about Nascar having the right idea.... Has anyone been looking at the stands in Nascar lately?

Yes, yes and hell yes. The whole swindle of the spec cars in Indycar was because of the owners mooing about how expensive it was. Now there are a myriad of reasons why, but here are a few. Sole source supply was essentially mandated when they they killed off the little shops in Gasoline Alley that used to do all the fab work for the teams. How did that happen? Easy. The non Dallara parts had to meet such :bs: requirements it became cost prohibitive to produce them. Everyone was forced to buy Dallara parts. Then they began to charge what ever the hell they wanted for the parts. You would not believe how much markup went into the spares. It was as bad or worse for the Indy Lights cars. It would literally make you vomit. There was a parts shortage for the last several years manufactured by Dallara because they quit making spares. Guess who gobbled up all the spares? Want to know what caused a lot of crashes? Worn out parts. I know of at least two crashes from one team this year that were caused by running parts that should have been in a dumpster. Simona's "new car" that she ran at Indy was only 3-4 years old. The one she finished out the year in (never question her courage) was about 7-8 years old and should have been a static display. Because, guess who had all the "new" cars held back as spares?

Swift had a design that would have undercut Dallara for the new car. Lola would have kicked their ***, but they've been in bed with them for so long they can't say no. You just wait and see how soon the prices increase. Don't get me started on the engine lease swindle.

BillS
11-02-2011, 09:58 AM
My only question is how do you take it away from spec racing without going back to "which Penske driver will win" as the only unanswered question about any given race? I say this even while admitting that in recent years it has pretty much come to a few teams again, but even that is better than the foregone conclusion which was basically spec racing within a single team.

If you find Nascar's championship "competition" at all uninspiring, why would single-team dominance be something to get excited about again?

Bball
11-02-2011, 12:07 PM
My only question is how do you take it away from spec racing without going back to "which Penske driver will win" as the only unanswered question about any given race? I say this even while admitting that in recent years it has pretty much come to a few teams again, but even that is better than the foregone conclusion which was basically spec racing within a single team.

If you find Nascar's championship "competition" at all uninspiring, why would single-team dominance be something to get excited about again?

Is the manufactured racing of spec cars really any more intriguing? And that is assuming you dumb the cars down enough that any driver could win on any given Sunday. But doing that, what do you accomplish if the best teams and best drivers can't necessarily win because they are the best? And so what if Penske (or whoever the next Super Team is) wins a lot of races with a less spec format? Shouldn't the best team and drivers win?

And if a team does figure something out that gives them a huge advantage that should give others in the paddock something to try and figure out for themselves or find something else. If the team with the advantage stinks up too many shows/seasons you could always go back to the rulebook to negate some of their technical or financial advantage.

That all said, Penske does have a competitor now in Ganassi. I don't think it would matter if they were racing spec cars, fully open formula cars, or soap box derby cars.... those two teams would be competing at the top. Why shouldn't they reap the rewards of their hard work?

To me, racing has always been about the pursuit of speed thru technology and a driver capable of putting that to use on the track. I never have a problem watching a car pull away from the field.

Nascar has dumbed down racing to the point where I couldn't really tell you what is happening with the chase. It's boring and nap inducing watching Nascar these days. Indycar doesn't need to emulate that in any way, shape, or form....

DaveP63
11-02-2011, 06:47 PM
Penske has another big kid on the block in the Chipster. AGR used to have the largest engineering budget when they were the big team. That's what money buys you. Engineering. Shaker rigs, wind tunnels, coast down tests, testing, testing, testing. The ability to have full time people fitting body panels so they are perfect. Reducing drag. Machining. Figuring out how to make things lighter...You know...Cheating...:laugh:

Everyone is always going to buy the best moustrap (chassis) they can afford. They best way to "regulate" is through the engines, specifically the ECU. Have the engines at a set horsepower limit, seal them up and make it part of the tech inspection and hand out the sealed ECUs to the teams for the duration of the event and then take them back. They can have 1 ECU to used for testing or whatever. You can also limit in season testing.

BillS
11-03-2011, 09:31 AM
It's sort of like the whole "rich owner" situation in the NBA. I grew up a Hurtibise/Ruby type fan and still have a soft spot for the Sarah Fishers out there trying to compete with the huge money guys.

I want racing to be about the best driving, not necessarily about the best gadgets. I understand that there's an unintended consequence when everyone is pack racing, but I'd like to see a fix for that that doesn't go all the way back to the old days.

travmil
11-03-2011, 10:09 AM
I've said before and I'll keep saying, it should be COMPLETELY wide open. The best drivers are going to gravitate to the best teams with the biggest budgets and the most tech anyway no matter what you do so the only thing left to do is have a basic rule book.

The car must have 4 wheels
the car must have a front and rear wing (or not)
the car must be so many inches long, wide, and high

Other than that, give it your best shot and throw your badass toy out there and dare the other guy's badass toy to do better.

Now THAT'S a race I'd watch.

DaveP63
11-04-2011, 06:17 PM
Kinda agree with both points, as a racer, but how do we prevent the nuclear arms race from consuming the little guys that we all love so much? (And are such an important part of the 500). Truthfully, I never had a problem with somebody winning by a lap or two. That tells me that somebody really did their homework.

SycamoreKen
11-05-2011, 02:13 AM
I would find it more interesting if you watched a race and all the cars were not exactly the same, like back in the days when I watched it growing up. Some of the most unique race cars ever made ran at indy.

Sandman21
11-05-2011, 11:52 PM
Good to see Rahal Letterman back in the circuit fulltime with 2 rides and even "Special" Ed getting into the ownership game with his own fulltime ride. Not sure where that leaves Sarah, but with those two teams and Shank Racing entering the paddock, at least not everything is doom and gloom.

DaveP63
11-06-2011, 09:21 AM
At a minimum, look for SFR to do Indy. Hope she can get something together for a full time deal.

Sandman21
11-07-2011, 11:00 PM
I think SFR continues on the ovals for sure as they have in the past. Not sure who gets the seat though.

DaveP63
11-11-2011, 07:27 PM
My favorite quote:
“So the car isn’t going as fast as we wanted or expected and we’re trying to identify why the theoretical world doesn’t match real world at the race track. At very high speeds, we have disparity in the data.”

And that, boys and girls, is the difference between a theoretical engineer and a practical engineer. The practical engineer would get on a golf cart and go watch it going into the corner and go watch the middle of the corner and watch it get out and figure it out in about 5 minutes...

http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/indycar-series-trying-to-solve-2012-cars-speedway-issues

Bball
11-13-2011, 05:00 AM
I'm just trying to let this latest info seep in. First off, as far as I'm concerned it's another strike against this idea of spec cars somehow being good for racing and the sport as a whole.

If the car truly has a problem, well now every team has a problem. If the cars were allowed to evolve substantially and alternate manufacturers show up with their own chassis then we might have an actual race for the pole and technological breakthrus making for some raceday drama.

Without this spec stuff we could have grandfatheriing taking place... even with the spec stuff we could have grandfathering. With the current news, someone with last year's car might be feeling pretty good about their situation come May (if the spec rules didn't suddenly obsolete their car).

The Indy500/Indycar is going to have a bubbling undercurrent issue as long as (if the rules allowed it) someone could take an early 1990's Indycar out of mothballs and easily put it on the pole at Indy and win the race going away versus any of the cars we've seen since the 2nd half of the 90's.... and now the new 'next generation' car too.

Now that all said... If the idea is to make the cars harder to drive it sounds like that's exactly what they are. Up the HP to increase the speed and let the driver use the pedals to control the speed... he can use the brakes to play with weight transfer too for that matter.

I'm still lost on an issue tho... I keep seeing that Dallara got the Indycar contract at least in part because they were the only one making a pitch for it who didn't require they be the exclusive chassis supplier. Well, if that is true then why were they awarded the contract to be the exclusive chassis manufacturer? It seems to me the ICONIC committee could've came away from the process by saying we've accepted Dallara's proposal plus, since Dallara is not requiring exclusivity, nor are we willing to grant exclusivity, and so we will accept the designs from the competing companies to be part of our rulebook as accepted chassis for the Indycar series as well ...should they want to build cars without exclusivity being granted.

DaveP63
11-13-2011, 09:27 PM
I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that the devil you know is better than the one you don't. Plus I think the prevailing sentiment was that developing that many chassis along with the engine packages would be too expensive. As it is now, the big teams can eat most of the development costs and the little guys can get handed a fairly sorted out package.

DaveP63
11-15-2011, 05:28 PM
Looks like SFR is going to run two cars next year, looks like full funding is possible. Drivers TBD!!!

Bball
11-17-2011, 04:03 AM
If the 2012 Dallara doesn't get sorted out and ends up in running sub 220 speeds for Indy qualifying... I really fear for the future of the sport. I don't even know that the sport can not take a hit if the car is only capable of matching recent qualifying speeds. With the tests having it hit 208-216MPH at IMS, and Indy being the halo event with all the eyes... this is really the best (and maybe last) last chance to reconnect and find new interest in the sport.

This has the potential of "Epic Fail" swirling around it right now.

DaveP63
11-17-2011, 06:11 PM
Reports are they are working hard on sorting the balance issues. HVM is signed up with Lotus/Judd. Probably won't get on track until January.

Bball
11-29-2011, 10:59 PM
“I think the CFD model [Dallara’s] done is a bit too rudimentary, and it has bitten them in the end,” said one prominent IndyCar engineer with extensive CFD experience, who, along with another current IndyCar race engineer, voiced the same concern.

“They’ve out-smarted themselves. Look at the aerodynamics on the Formula One car they delivered for HRT. That thing was barely suitable for that series, and if you look at the [DW12], they’ve also come up woefully short. You can’t dabble in these things. I’ll just put it this way: every rudimentary Indy car CFD model I’ve seen has said the rear of the car needs more weight bias than it actually requires. When you see that data returned, it should be a prompt to spend more time on [improving] your model, not to go off and start making a car based off that weight distribution figure. I’ll bet you [taking] a shortcut on the model has set this entire chain of problems in motion.”


Although the exact power figure being used in road course testing is unknown, it’s believed that manufacturers are right in the 600-650 hp range—close to the naturally-aspirated units that were used through 2011.

With a significant jump in downforce, similar weight, comparable power and a fundamental change in how that power is delivered, something as routine as spinning the tires out of tight corners has reportedly been a challenge with the turbo-powered DW12s.

The mothballed 3.5-liter atmospheric Honda V8s offered instant torque, acceleration, and forced its users to be mindful of aggressive throttle inputs. So far in testing, the 2.2-liter turbos (Honda uses a single Borg Warner turbo while Chevrolet and Lotus use twin BW units) have been incredibly responsive, with drivers applauding the lack of turbo lag, but the small-displacement engines, compared to their predecessor, offer minimal amounts of initial torque.

Simply put, stomping on the throttle in slow corners, at present, is met with nice and tidy acceleration. The “be afraid…be very afraid of touching the throttle” sideways moments drivers and fans were hoping for is nowhere to be found.

http://dlstatic.speedtv.com/imageserve/0dYa0EO6g66ez/575x459.jpg?fit=scale&background=000000

http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/indycar-inside-the-2012-cars-design-development-issues

Bball
11-30-2011, 04:38 AM
INDYCAR: Barnhart Removed From Race Control; Angstadt Departs

http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/indycar-barnhart-removed-from-race-control-angstadt-fired

Bball
11-30-2011, 04:54 AM
Maybe Barnhart can be re-assigned to the Yellow Shirt crew? Wait... that won't work... Couldn't you see him controlling pedestrian traffic at the Gasoline Alley crossing....

He'd space the line out so much the first people to cross would already be making a lap thru the infield and returning before the end of the line even got across the walkway.

Some people would be allowed to walk across at any time but others would be randomly stopped, even with no cars rolling in Gasoline Alley.

He'd start the line with golf carts coming thru narrowly missing pedestrians.

Random people would be pulled out of line and sent to the back when he accuses them of blocking.

Sandman21
11-30-2011, 03:29 PM
He'll probably be tasked with a focus on driver safety.

DaveP63
11-30-2011, 05:34 PM
He's being given one of those jobs where he'll be in charge of basically nothing and have no real responsibilities. Hmmmm. Logistics. Wanna bet he finds a way to jack around with transporter parking? If he has any pride (HAAAAAAAAAAAA) he'll quit. Also an excellent article about the troubles with the DW12. Remember what I said about theoretical engineers?

Bball
12-01-2011, 06:16 AM
www.indystar.com



Terry Angstadt was replaced as IndyCar's president of the commercial division and Brian Barnhart no longer will officiate races as part of changes to IndyCar's management team confirmed Wednesday.

Angstadt, who joined IndyCar in 2007, will be replaced by Marc Koretzky, a staff member since May. Koretzky has been IndyCar's director of corporate business development.

Angstadt led the signings of Izod and Apex Brazil and IndyCar's international expansion to Brazil and China. He will remain with the organization through the transition, an IndyCar spokesman said.

"I don't have one hard feeling in my body," Angstadt said. "It was a fantastic experience."

Koretzky came to IndyCar from the 360 Sports Academy, an Atlanta-based company that helps collegiate athletes become better leaders. Koretzky, a University of Georgia alumnus, is a former consultant to Charlotte Motor Speedway, the NFL and the NCAA men's and women's basketball Final Four.

Barnhart will remain IndyCar's president of racing operations, but a new layer of management will oversee races.

Barnhart's role as chief steward came under fire this past season with decisions to restart the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in August during wet conditions and to start the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix with a safety truck on the track.

Barnhart, who is recovering from wrist surgery, was not available for comment. He joined IndyCar in 1997 as director of racing operations.

IndyCar has not named a new chief steward.


http://www.indystar.com/article/20111201/SPORTS0107/112010367/Shake-up-Angstadt-out-Barnhart-side

Sandman21
12-01-2011, 05:16 PM
From good news to not so good news:

Newman Haas is closing up shop.

http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/indycar-end-of-the-road-for-newman-haas/

I think Hinch may end up at Andretti, and SFR should try and get Servia. That guy can flatout drive.

DaveP63
12-05-2011, 05:52 PM
Hinch would be a great get for anyone. He can drive and he's a PR person's wet dream.

Sandman21
12-07-2011, 07:08 PM
Looks like SFR is going to run two cars next year, looks like full funding is possible. Drivers TBD!!!

First driver announced......

NEWGARDEN!

Great pickup for SFR.

DaveP63
12-08-2011, 06:47 AM
He's going to be very good. We tested him at VIR for FBMW. I found him very polite and not a whiner. Dad is cool, too. Full disclosure, the test mule that he ran was thrown together at the last minute and never, as long as we had it, made it through an entire weekend without issue. I referred to it ever after as the mechanical a hole. Anyway, he was pretty unremarkable and didn't really press the car very hard so we passed on him. I'm pretty sure that most of that was the car's fault...

Sandman21
12-08-2011, 07:26 PM
Just announced: Vegas is cancelled for next year.

Bball
12-08-2011, 09:59 PM
I'm not surprised it's off the schedule but I am surprised it's off the schedule at this point. I either would've expected a knee jerk reaction and it removed from the schedule soon after this year's tragedy or else Indycar not make an official announcement until the complete 2012 schedule is released and give themselves plenty of time, or at least the appearance they tried to find a way to keep it on the schedule if at all possible. That way Bruton couldn't say they never gave the race a chance or tried to find a solution to honor their contract.

DaveP63
12-09-2011, 05:25 PM
So much for the engineers will find a way to make it work on the cookie cutters.

Bball
12-09-2011, 08:04 PM
So much for the engineers will find a way to make it work on the cookie cutters.

Maybe they could if the car was working as advertised to begin with....


...Not that I really think the engineers could anyway.... Those high banks will always be problematic for keeping the cars from wanting to step out.... even if the cars had no downforce. Then factor in the cars DO have quite a bit of downforce, matching chassis, and engines that might not be all that dissimilar performance-wise if the driver doesn't have to lift....

Heh... But what do I know. I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night... but I did make the Robin Miller Mailbag this week ;)

Bball
12-12-2011, 03:29 AM
Indycar is going to have to do something with its schedule. We know Vegas is out and Texas is still being decided (supposedly). Baltimore could be out too. AFAIK Indycar is contractually bound to run a minimum of 16 races for Izod (title sponsor). I'm not sure what the penalty is for running fewer... It could be anything from a dollar penalty to a complete voiding of the contract.

I think Indycar could make a go of it at Milwaukee IF they took over the promotion and/or farmed it out to someone with Indycar assuming the risk. AND run it as the followup to the Indy 500 as it traditionally always was. Perfect tie in and with the
month of May and 500 as a lead in and built in race awareness for it. ...Probably get a lot of people in the general area who the 500 storylines would put them in the mood to go to the next race if it's within driving distance. And Milwaukee fits that bill. Shoot, promote the heck out of it at the 500. Offer ticket deals.

DaveP63
12-16-2011, 06:40 PM
Wheldon Crash Report Explored

http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/indycar-49-page-wheldon-crash-report-explored

Very interesting reading, if long...

Bball
12-17-2011, 08:35 PM
http://www.indystar.com/article/20111215/SPORTS0107/111215016/Report-Blow-from-fence-post-killed-Wheldon-Vegas-race


Dan Wheldon's death: A 'perfect storm' of rare events
Driver's head struck a post supporting a catch fence

Barnhart and IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard stressed the promotion that brought Wheldon to the event and the sport’s largest field since 1997 — 34 cars — had nothing to do with the fatality. Nor did the banking of the track.

But it was other things such as the high grip level, the variable lines of racing that made driving relatively easy and the rare track blockage that Wheldon encountered.

“It was nearly unlimited movement on the track surface without restraint to racing lines,” Barnhart said. “There’s always been a limit. You couldn’t use the entire track.”

He called it “a variable that has not been seen” elsewhere.

Wh Wh Wh What???? That's what high banking does... How can they say the high banks weren't an issue? If he wants to say it wasn't the high banking that killed Wheldon but instead a post then that's one thing (and playing semantics) but to act like the high banking has nothing to do with the 'variable racing lines', the 'pack racing', or that it isn't anything they've seen before... well... :bs:

Also, again, you could say since the accident 'only' involved 14 or so cars out of the 34 cars that started the race so starting 34 cars wasn't a factor might be true... if you're parsing words. But knowing you are going to have pack racing all that really matters is where the accident starts. If it starts at P3 then there's 32 cars that will potentially be involved in the 'big one' in Indycar pack racing. The higher speeds, propensity to get airborne, etc is a variable that makes it different than Nascar's restrictor plate racing.

By the same token, if you have 24 cars running and the car running P21 has an issue then you potentially only have 4 cars involved with a pack racing accident.

If you have separation then a wreck at P3 isn't going to take out 2/3rds of the field but without separation that's a real problem. And at the root of it has to be the high banking combined with the spec car design that has been (marring IMO) Indycar racing for sometime. Are they seriously ignoring that connection?

The only takeaway from the number of competitors is the more cars running in a pack the more cars that can be potentially involved in a big wreck where 1 or 2 people's mistake impacts everyone behind them.

Coming from TGBB, the man that wants a strung out start for the Indy 500.... It's kind of hard to believe he could think starting 33 cars on a 2.5mi flat oval needs separation but running the same type of speeds in general, in a pack, with the full field, lap after lap, on a 1.5mi high banked oval is OK.

Yes it was a perfect storm... A perfect storm of pack racing with mature spec cars that everyone had figured out, on a high banked oval, and not being able to dodge the Russian roulette bullet that they'd dodged too many times already. ...and apparently decided to ignore. If the report is to be taken seriously then it doesn't sound like they've truly yet learned the lesson they need to learn....

Bball
12-18-2011, 05:43 AM
http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/indycar-new-mclaren-ecu-sato-pagenaud-log-testing-miles-at-sebring/


The topic of adding more power, as Griffiths reveals, has died down rather heavily within the series and the IndyCar Engine Committee, which should help to cement the boost and RPM levels teams will use once they begin testing next month.

“There hasn’t been any more talk of needing more power,” he said. “I had quite a long chat with one of my counterparts at GM, and we kind of concluded that to us, if we’re racing at Indy at 215 mph rather than 225, it really doesn’t matter as long as the racing is good. If the racing is poor, and we’re slow, then that’s obviously a problem. But if it takes us three years to get back up to 225, so what? At the end of the day, it’s a number.

“If the car is difficult to drive, that’s good. That means the good drivers will do well and the drivers that aren’t as good won’t do as well. If [the DW12] is right at its performance limit to start, what are we going to do with it for the next five years? We’d be starting off right where we just ended up with the previous car.”

I might be convinced to agree if we're talking racing... But qualifying speeds need to show some type of technological advancement. You can't have the new car going slower than the old car, which was already slower than what a 20 year old Indycar could do if put on the track. Maybe this stuff doesn't matter at Texas, or some street course, but IMHO it matters at Indy.

Qualifying speeds and practice speeds will capture the public's (and media's) attention. In the race, those speeds might not matter as much to the public or media since the q number is already out there and the racing is what is important at that point. In fact, many of the fans tuning in or showing up will have been hooked by the q speed hype and IMO have no idea the race speeds are 10-15MPH off the qualifying speeds. I could be wrong about that but I doubt it.

What I don't think I'm wrong at all about is saying qualifying speeds cannot afford to be going backwards. Not now.

If this new car comes out looking ugly like it is and going dog slow in May then Indycar is going to have lost its chance at leaving the perception of dumbed down racing in the rear view mirror. Instead, they are going to solidify that reputation. The only national or international press they'll get will be the wrong kind of press. Like questions about how after having one car for 7 years the new model is slower, not faster. And asking how many years we'll be seeing this current slow car.

If the new cars were butt-ugly but fast, racy, beasts then few would think a thing about the looks. But butt-ugly and slow (contextually speaking), and 33 matching body styles, is not going to put Indycar where it needs to be PR wise. And in such a fragile state as it currently is, that's not going to be easy to recover from. Even if you had multiple type cars and it turned out the ugliest, weirdest looking chassis was the fastest it would be seen as cool and interesting. But a car universally seen as ugly (IE, not sleek and racy looking) running 1986 speeds is not taking things in the proper technical direction for the sport. It's not going to make Indycar look like it's a technical leader in anything as far as the technology of speed and automobile innovation goes.

Sure, safety has to be a factor but then so does the sport of OW racing itself.

If the 1986 car would have a shot at the 2012 Indy 500 pole then there's a huge problem. The pole speed was 216.828 in 1986.

But since they are talking about racing... If the racing is so important to them (and it should be) lobby officials to put the apron back on the track.

DaveP63
12-18-2011, 09:23 AM
That article highlights why TGBB had to go. He's full of shite.

Bball
12-25-2011, 03:33 PM
The official schedule has 4 ovals, 15 races (one shy of what IZOD is guaranteed) so a TBD is still in play, and the Texas Two Step is no more. Texas will just be one race again this year.

I don't think Baltimore has worked out it's financial issues so it's precarious although since the event appeared to be a success other than financial for the promoter, the city might try and find a way to make it happen.

The new car did not meet design goals and without finding 'something' soon will be perceived as a technological step back by many come May.

It's going to be an interesting year.

DaveP63
12-26-2011, 07:40 AM
Right now, the solution seems to be make the car heavier by adding ballast to get the weight distribution right. That is, until they put the gearbox on a diet...Of course, it could be the fact that it's a sportscar gearbox, not something nice from a company that has experience with open wheel gearboxes.

Bball
01-09-2012, 08:55 AM
Beaux Barfield officially replaces TGBB in race control. One thing I found interesting was it's reported he just has a 1yr contract. He says blocking rules will be changing and to look for less blocking calls and more avoidable contact calls.

Randy Bernhard is confident Baltimore will happen even though the city has cut ties with the former promoter. Also, a 16th race at Ft Lauderdale appears to be coming as the season closer. Meanwhile, reports are that something is in the works with Milwaukee for a June race. I think it was June 17th they were looking at. Not the first race after Indy but close. It would be amongst a group of several races in 4 or 5 weeks time which IMHO cannot hurt with promotion for the series.

Versus is now officially rebranded as NBC Sports. If nothing else that sounds better as the exclusive (or semi exclusive) home of Indycar racing.

Has there been any new developments with the DW12?

DaveP63
01-09-2012, 11:28 AM
From what I've been able to gather, there's less engineering coming from the Dallara camp than I would have hoped. The teams are coping with it on their own. I kind of get the impression that the series might not be pushing too hard to get the weight issue corrected before the season starts. Kind of like they want to go through the year with it the way it is and see before they totally re-ballance it. That may be subject to change if there's more backlash. Engines are supposed to be on track, but AFIK, no one has seen the Lotus crates show up...

Should we start the official 2012 thread???

Sandman21
01-10-2012, 02:59 PM
I think Hinch may end up at Andretti,.

Called it. Hinch is taking Danica's ride:

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/motor/indycar/story/2012-01-09/James-Hinchcliffe-picked-to-be-Danica-Patrick-successor/52474740/1

Sandman21
02-10-2012, 07:39 PM
Thanks to Michael Andretti, Milwaukee is a go!
http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/indycar-andretti-saves-milwaukee-mile

Bball
02-14-2012, 01:25 PM
Double file restarts on big ovals returning to single file restarts....

Iowa qualifying changing format is interesting...



After a year of double-file restarts in the Indianapolis 500, IndyCar’s new race director said today that a single-file approach is better.

Beaux Barfield said many drivers expressed concern about their location on the track when restarts happened. Being two-wide near where the pit wall at Indianapolis Motor Speedway starts is dangerous, they said. Thus, the change.

“They were right at sort of a draft and pan-out point in the vicinity of where the pit wall started,” Barfield said. “If they got forced over there, that’s dangerous.

“There were a few incidents that were pretty close (to happening) and many drivers brought that up.”

Single-file restarts will also be held at Texas Motor Speedway (June 9) and Auto Club Speedway (Sept. 15). All other events will utilize the double-file restarts brought to IndyCar last year by CEO Randy Bernard.

IndyCar also will make a change in qualifying procedure at the June 22-23 event at Iowa Speedway. While the format remains in a conceptual stage, Barfield said his idea is to have three qualifying races, with the top 10 in practice advancing directly to the third race.

The cars 11th and lower in practice will be divided into two groups for the first two qualifying races. The best in those races will advance to the third race.

“(It’s) going back to the heritage of short-track racing,” Barfield said. “We want to try it and evaluate it.”

http://www.indystar.com/article/20120214/SPORTS0107/120214021/Barfield-Single-file-approach-Indy-500-restarts-better

DaveP63
02-14-2012, 05:31 PM
Double file restarts on big ovals returning to single file restarts....

Iowa qualifying changing format is interesting...




http://www.indystar.com/article/20120214/SPORTS0107/120214021/Barfield-Single-file-approach-Indy-500-restarts-better

It's a great idea, but they will ***** up a storm.

Bball
02-14-2012, 09:45 PM
Speedtv says some standing starts will be on tap somewhere in the season...

Bball
02-27-2012, 02:47 PM
Watching coverage of yesterday's rain out at the Danica 500 it really made me happy to think we won't have to deal with the Danica hype at the Indy 500. Of course we'll probably be told several times that she's not there and why (has moved to Nascar, yada yada)... But that will be out of the way after this year.

Now, let's pray she never does 'the double' so the Indy 500 and Danica Over-Hype can officially be put to bed for Indycar.

DaveP63
02-27-2012, 03:54 PM
Hell yes. Let them deal with the circus for now. I won't watch another one until 'Dega anyway.

Sandman21
02-27-2012, 11:03 PM
And talk about a circus NASCAR is having right now! I think Daytona is cursed this year!

DaveP63
02-28-2012, 06:41 AM
Three for three! She's consistent!

Bball
02-28-2012, 08:19 AM
So at the end Fox interviewed P1, P2, P3, and P38. Can you guess who was P38??

I realize right now she's a story, although it's a story that's more 'created' and massaged rather than naturally happening. But this Danica, Danica, Danica b---sh-t is going to turn people off in Nascar just as it did in Indycar unless she somehow becomes a much more aggressive and better driver than she ever was in Indycar. And it would be nice if she could become that BEFORE this Danica, Danica, Danica b---sh-t plagues the race broadcasts.

For every Danica fan glad to see her interviewed after her scintillating 38th place finish (or whatever it was) just think how many serious fans, sponsors, and other teams and drivers are wondering why the 38th place team is sucking up all the remaining spotlight? Shouldn't that airtime be going to either teams that did well, surprisingly better than expected, or worse than expected (and people want to know "What happened?"). Danica finishing 38th and getting in a wreck is no surprise at all. In fact, the odds were pretty high she'd be in the middle of the pack and caught up in a wreck at some point.

We even had to deal with an inordinate amount of time showing us her team working on her car in the garage rather than covering cars in the race that mattered.

Nascar can have this circus act and please keep it over there...

Bball
02-28-2012, 08:57 AM
BTW... Was it just my imagination or were there an awful lot of commercials during the Danica 500 last night?

DaveP63
02-29-2012, 06:38 AM
So at the end Fox interviewed P1, P2, P3, and P38. Can you guess who was P38??

I realize right now she's a story, although it's a story that's more 'created' and massaged rather than naturally happening. But this Danica, Danica, Danica b---sh-t is going to turn people off in Nascar just as it did in Indycar unless she somehow becomes a much more aggressive and better driver than she ever was in Indycar. And it would be nice if she could become that BEFORE this Danica, Danica, Danica b---sh-t plagues the race broadcasts.

For every Danica fan glad to see her interviewed after her scintillating 38th place finish (or whatever it was) just think how many serious fans, sponsors, and other teams and drivers are wondering why the 38th place team is sucking up all the remaining spotlight? Shouldn't that airtime be going to either teams that did well, surprisingly better than expected, or worse than expected (and people want to know "What happened?"). Danica finishing 38th and getting in a wreck is no surprise at all. In fact, the odds were pretty high she'd be in the middle of the pack and caught up in a wreck at some point.

We even had to deal with an inordinate amount of time showing us her team working on her car in the garage rather than covering cars in the race that mattered.

Nascar can have this circus act and please keep it over there...

Kyle Petty was busting on Danicamania during the pre-race. Something to the effect of "I promise there are more cars out there that the 10 car and we will talk about some of them". And yes, there were a ton of commercials.

Bball
03-02-2012, 09:40 AM
Out of Patrick's shadow

Michael Andretti, Danica Patrick's former car owner in IndyCar, said Thursday the series is better off in some respects since she left for NASCAR.

"Yeah, we lost Danica, but I'm not sure that's going to be negative," he said. "I think she brought a lot of good stuff, but she brought a lot of other things that really took away from the rest of our series. And I don't think that's healthy. And I think NASCAR's going to find that."

Andretti, speaking in Milwaukee, went out of his way to make clear that his comments weren't meant as a criticism of Patrick, but rather of the amount of media attention she receives at the expense of other drivers.

"It became all about her," Andretti said. "Even our racing was secondary. I mean, to talk about her finishing 12th in the field, it was taking away from our real stars that we have that really were not getting the billing they should get."

http://www.indystar.com/article/20120302/SPORTS0107/203020337/Pit-pass-Daytona-500-jet-dryer-accident-spurs-changes-IMS?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|IndyStar.com

...+1

DaveP63
03-02-2012, 09:12 PM
Let us put paid to the 2011 thread and begin anew!