Open Letter from INDYCAR to NASCAR


Dear NASCAR,

We’ve been watching your races over the last year and a half or so and, while exciting, your “Boys Have At It” mentality to let drivers settle their personal vendettas and scores is starting to push the envelope into the ‘danger zone’.

To begin 2013 you had a car impact the catch fence on the grandstands side of Daytona International Speedway injuring fans who paid their hard earned money to sit in those seats for an enjoyable afternoon of racing and, instead, found themselves in an ambulance on its way to a local hospital.  This crash was all caused by a block thrown by Regan Smith because he did not want to give up the position coming down to the finish.  First of all, we can’t remember the last time somebody was penalized for blocking in a NASCAR race.  The blocking issue will resurface later, but the inherent problem with your racing on circuits like Daytona and Talladega is the ridiculous pack racing that ensues on these tracks.  The fans may crave and scream for it but, eventually, they will pay dearly for it.

The race at Bristol opened a new can of worms when Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano took their Twitter feud to a new level when Hamlin nudged Logano into the wall which resulted in subsequent threats of “He’s got it coming” etc.  This past weekend’s race that ended in carnage, bleeped out post-race interviews, and a hospitalized driver is a prime example of how you are losing control of your sport’s atheletes.

Race car drivers are passionate, emotional creatures that desperately want to win.  Especially in these times where sponsorship dollars seem to grow fewer and fewer, the pressure on drivers to win races and championships is ten fold of what it was a decade ago and, therefore, any fellow competitor who interferes in the pursuit of that goal will be the subject of at least verbal jabs if not worse.  What we are seeing is a complete lack of professionalism and respect on the drivers’ part and a lack of discipline from the sanctioning body of your sport and it must stop immediately.  Although there will be differences of opinion and words between drivers periodically, the racetrack is NOT the time or the place to settle any sort of score.  The drivers must respect each other on the track and, if they do not, the management of NASCAR must take swift and decisive action to discipline any driver that steps outside the bounds of what is acceptable behavior with fines, points deductions, vacation of wins, or suspensions if necessary.

In 2011, we had our own version of ‘Boys Have At It’ where poor choices by our series management allowed drivers to take matters into their own hands when it came to settling on-track melees because there was no clear line of what was acceptable behavior.  We paid for the shortsightedness of everyone involved in our sport with our dearest blood when one of our biggest stars lost his life in a race filled with insane pack racing absent of mutual respect between the competitors causing a 12 car crash.

The insanity of the ‘Boys Have At It’ must stop.  You may think it great for the sport as it allows the drivers to “show their character” but showing their character with 3,500 pound racecar circulating a two mile racetrack at 200 mph speeds will come back to haunt you in the deepest, most painful way possible if you do not change the culture.

Change it now before you endure the heartbreak that we did.

Sincerely,

INDYCAR

The Great Debate: IZOD IndyCar Competition on Ovals


Ever since Lap 12 of the IZOD IndyCar World Championships at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, there has been great debate on whether IndyCars should be running on high-banked 1.5 Mile Ovals like the Vegas Circuit.  The concern is warranted given the high price that IndyCar paid on that fateful lap that killed one of their biggest stars and a man the series was counting on to help catapult their fan base in the wake of Danica Patrick’s departure for NASCAR.  With teams scheduled to take delivery of their new 2012 Dallara IndyCars sometime in the next ten days, it is time for the sanctioning body of IndyCar racing to reveal their schedule.  The tentative dates are as follows!

March 25, 2012 – Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Street Course)

April 1, 2012 – Grand Prix of Alabama (Road Course)

April 15, 2012 – Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Street Course)

April 29, 2012 – Streets of Sao Paulo (Street Course)

May 27, 2012 – Indianapolis 500 (Quad Oval)

June 3, 2012 – Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix (Street Course)

June 9, 2012 – Firestone Twin 275s @ Texas Motor Speedway (1.5 Mile Oval)

June 24, 2012 – Iowa Corn Indy 250 @ Iowa Speedway (7/8 Mile Oval)

July 8, 2012 – Honda Indy Toronto (Street Course)

July 22, 2012 – Edmonton City Centre Airport (Street Course)

August 5, 2012 – Honda Indy 200 @ Mid Ohio Sports Car Course (Road Course)

August 19, 2012 –  Qingdao, China (Street Course)

August 26, 2012 – Infineon Raceway (Road Course)

September 2, 2012 – Streets of Baltimore (Street Course)

September 15, 2012 – Auto Club Speedway (2-Mile Oval)

October 13-14, 2012 – IZOD IndyCar World Championships @ Las Vegas (1.5 Mile Oval)

IndyCar is attempting to determine whether the dates at Auto Club Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Texas Motor Speedway should remain.  If removed, it would leave IndyCar with two oval races at Indianapolis and Iowa and take the schedule from 16 events to 13.  The IZOD IndyCar Series has never had a schedule with less that 14 dates which would be an ill advised choice making the series less relevant to fans of other racing avenues, NASCAR in particular.

All three oval tracks subject to removal from the schedule are NASCAR destinations and remain part of the track season ticket packages with two, Texas and Auto Club Speedway, already selling tickets.  IndyCar cannot hope to close the gap to NASCAR, nor can it dream to increase its exposure by running on street and road courses exclusively.  IndyCar racing on ovals is spectacular.  The capablity of open wheel cars to run 50-60 mph faster than their stock car counterparts on these circuits make them a spectacle to watch.  They are able to run side-by-side for laps at a time making for the most adrenaline filled, edge-of-your-seat racing action that can be seen anywhere.  Oval racing in IndyCar is sexy, exciting, and the cars look beautiful running those speeds, especially under the lights on a Saturday night.  Street and road courses do not translate to other race fans as easily as the ovals, simply due to their lack of passing opportunities and, seemingly, parade-style action…or lack thereof.

Team owners and drivers have been outspoken about their opposition to running NASCAR-style tracks, some of them heavy-hitters including Dario Franchitti and Will Power, 2011s Championship contenders!  They definately have license and should not be ignored.  Running on these courses is a very dangerous business for stock cars as well as IndyCars and the risky nature will never be completely omitted, but the sport continues to become safer and safer.

The dangers of running ovals at speeds approaching 220 mph should not be ignored, however, the series should not get gun shy about running them.  They need to be safer by finding a solution allowing the cars to spread out instead of running in a huge multi-car pack.  The cars themselves must have measures taken to prevent them from becoming airborne.  The IZOD IndyCar Series is fully capable of making the cars safe on these big high-banked circuits and cannot sell their innovation short!  There is a solution and IndyCar MUST find it because without the ovals, IndyCar will fade so far into the background that it will be beyond saving because the money will run dry from lack of interest.

It is time for CEO Randy Bernard and the governing body of the sport to put their foot down, compete on these tracks where they belong, and find a solution to make them work!  It is time to get it done!  The first high-banked oval race is six months away!  Announce the schedule, honor your contracts, and find a way to make it work!  The future of the sport hangs in the balance…you MUST do it right!

WELCOME TO MOTORSPORTS!


Hello All,

Thank you for taking a gander at my blog.  This blog is designed as something fun for me to do while feeding my passion for all things auto racing!  It is just getting started, however, I look forward to bringing commentary, preview, and reflection to NASCAR, IZOD INDYCAR, and FORMULA 1 events and seasons with other series sprinkled in.  I am most well-versed in IZOD INDYCAR and NASCAR, but I am hopeful that this blog will give me the opportunity to learn about more auto racing forms as it develops, and I promise to do so!  Thank you all for your support and attention!

ENJOY READING!