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Whether it’s some fresh ideas, new rules or simply enforcing existing ones, IndyCar road racing really needs a revival. Since an all oval schedule is unlikely to return anytime soon, here are a few suggestions to liven up the road shows.
As fans of IndyCar it’s no secret we at IRR prefer oval track racing to squiggly courses because speed, passing and excitement are kinda our thing. Having already offered our “Ways To Save Oval Racing,” it’s now time to address the ten times as many curves as straightaways tracks.
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The first thing the series could do to improve squirmies is simply enforce the rules. When called at all, penalties are often wildly inconsistent – just see Emma Dixon‘s Twitter feed – with certain teams and drivers (think Penske and Ganassi) seemingly exempt. Last year’s Long Beach non-call on Simon Pagenaud is a perfect example of this. It’s grossly unfair and invites NASCAR type lawlessness.
Race control’s laxness calling penalties leads to drivers getting Kimballed, or what’s worse, Satoed. Recently on the Texas oval nine drivers were Kanaaned, which is in case you’re wondering much worse than a caning – just ask Hinch. Non-calls lead to a lot of shenanigans going unpunished, which isn’t good for the sport. When drivers break the rules send ’em to the back, or better yet give ’em a stop and go. When teams break the rules, make ’em pay – a lot. It’ll shake up the field and cut out some of this recklessness.
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Let’s face it, the most entertaining moments on road courses – apart from starts and restarts, duh – occur in wet conditions. Why not make unwatchable courses like Detroit, Mid-Ohio and the Canuck concrete car crusher Toronto rain tire races? All it’d take is the application of a few thousand gallons of water and voila! One thing’s for sure – the racing would be immensely better. It certainly couldn’t hurt.
So-called “competition cautions” along with what we’ve termed “race reviving red flags” should be strategically deployed at intervals throughout all road and street races. Specifically, they need to be brought out when the leader checks out from the field, during the mid race doldrums, and with about fifteen laps to go. Bunching up the field is one way to turn a sure fire snoozer into an entertaining road race, or at least a decent finish. Well, sometimes. Maybe.
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Finally, there need to be decent straightaways and at least a few solid passing zones on the wigglies. It’s truly surprising how many road courses have neither. Appears strange to read, doesn’t it? Believe us, it’s extremely odd to have to write it about these “race tracks.” Sonoma‘s notorious for a distinct lack of passing so, according to IndyCar’s logic, it’s a perfect place to host the finale.
Perhaps, but only with sprinklers, flags, track modifications and lots of penalty enforcement. Oh, and of course grid girls. Can’t forget the grid girls.
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