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Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate

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  • Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate

    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.
    Last edited by Bball; 10-18-2011, 12:58 PM.
    Nuntius was right for a while. I was wrong for a while. But ultimately I was right and Frank Vogel has been let go.

    ------

    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, thatís teamwork."

    -John Wooden

  • #2
    Re: Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate

    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.


    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate

      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.


      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate

        Originally posted by Trader Joe View Post
        Also, Indycar needs to bring back manufacturers, different ones.
        Starting next year, there will be three options.

        Honda, Chevrolet, and Lotus.
        "I had to take her down like Chris Brown."

        -Lance Stephenson

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate

          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.
          "I had to take her down like Chris Brown."

          -Lance Stephenson

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate

            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.


            @Pacers24Colts12

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate

              Originally posted by TheDanimal View Post
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate

                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


                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate

                  Originally posted by Trader Joe View Post
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate

                    Originally posted by Bball View Post
                    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).
                    Last edited by Sandman21; 10-18-2011, 06:18 PM.
                    "Nobody wants to play against Tyler Hansbrough NO BODY!" ~ Frank Vogel

                    "And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground. Amen. "

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate

                      This will be a little lengthy, so please bear with me.

                      Originally posted by Bball View Post
                      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.

                      Originally posted by Bball View Post
                      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.

                      Originally posted by Bball View Post
                      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.

                      Originally posted by Bball View Post
                      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.

                      Originally posted by Bball View Post
                      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.

                      Originally posted by Bball View Post
                      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.

                      Originally posted by Bball View Post
                      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.

                      Originally posted by Bball View Post
                      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.

                      Originally posted by Bball View Post
                      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.


                      Originally posted by Bball View Post
                      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.

                      Originally posted by Bball View Post
                      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.

                      Originally posted by Bball View Post
                      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.

                      Originally posted by Bball View Post
                      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.

                      Originally posted by Bball View Post
                      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!!!

                      Originally posted by Bball View Post
                      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.

                      Originally posted by Bball View Post
                      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%

                      Originally posted by Trader Joe View Post
                      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.

                      Originally posted by Trader Joe View Post
                      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...

                      Originally posted by Trader Joe View Post
                      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!!!!
                      http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-tr...nce-stephenson
                      "But, first, let us now praise famous moments, because something happened Tuesday night in Indianapolis that you can watch a lifetimeís worth of professional basketball and never see again. There was a brief, and very decisive, and altogether unprecedented, outburst of genuine officiating, and it was directed at the best player in the world, and that, my dear young person, simply is not done."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate

                        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.


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate

                          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.


                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate

                            Originally posted by Trader Joe View Post
                            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?
                            http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-tr...nce-stephenson
                            "But, first, let us now praise famous moments, because something happened Tuesday night in Indianapolis that you can watch a lifetimeís worth of professional basketball and never see again. There was a brief, and very decisive, and altogether unprecedented, outburst of genuine officiating, and it was directed at the best player in the world, and that, my dear young person, simply is not done."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Indycar 2011- Lots to contemplate

                              That they weren't being used to their limits?


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