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April 23, 2012


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Brian McKay

If memory serves me, Ms. Fryer's article specified that the spectators who went to Bristol's raceway AND chose to answer SMI's survey said that they disliked the 'all-green' race. I would not extrapolate that to all NASCAR spectators viewing in-person or via television.

I'd guess that most NASCAB fans want yellow-flag periods so that they can take bathroom breaks and so that their favorite drivers can 'pack-up' and have a chance to finish better (and maybe unliked racers will crash and thus spice-up an event).

Secondly, I would never guess that you could get NASCAB spectators, who like to have their favorite cars, with 4-feet-high numerals on roofs, constantly in view on 'ovals' try to visually and mentally follow racing on road and street courses where long-time, practiced IndyCar spectators cannot follow all the action even with jumbotrons.
A hard sell, if you ask me.


IMO, NASCAR addicted Americans to this product that is not "racing" when CART went "boom". Will be hard to make these people like "racing" again. So... the best IndyCar can do is trying to get new fans, on road/street and also on ovals. Still wish so much we could have a 50-50 schedule. This way we could have a real oval championship (and maybe teams/drivers that compete only there), a real road course championship (already exists, yes) and a very diverse series.
But I wish IndyCar could go to real ovals, for the first time in my life I'm watching old CART seasons (started watching IndyCar and all its history only in 2010) and man... old oval racing was great, even if the race ended with only 2 cars on the lead lap. Also Long Beach, I could see the effort from the race control to keep the race without full course caution, great racing.
IndyCar needs to get this back.


I'm a converted fan of Indycar's twisty schedule. But I also believe ovals are not only necessary, but important to the series--at least flat tracks like Iowa and Milwaukee. Randy Bernard's mantra has been that these driver's and cars can run on street, road or oval and I've bought into that. Indycar has no business running on steep banked Nascar tracks, but I think some ovals will do fine with Indycar and I'd be very disappointed if they dumped them. It doesn't have to be all one or the other--you run where it works.

As far as Nascar goes, except for their ability to wreck without serious injury, Indycar blows N-car away for fun, exciting and sometimes very scary racing on ovals.

Mike Hare

All twisties and the 500 works for me. Big issue I see is how to make enough money to sustain the series. I think ALMS is the place to look for guidance. P1, P2 and PC offer different costs to get teams into the series. IndyCar needs to figure how to get the feeders to share the glory and wall as ALMS does. Also need to build on the Chevy vs Honda vs ? and try to get some strong tie in to the development of powerful, efficient road cars. ALMS does it with the green challenge. Don't think IndyCar does a good job at all of talking up the E85 angle. Finally, I hate that the 2000 lb. gorilla, NASCAR is screwing with ALMS through GrandAm but that's just another example of American capitalism at its worst.

Brian McKay

Right; race on the flat speedways, natural-terrain road courses, and city streets & airports to pull-in non-racing-fans, ALMS & SCCA Pro Racing fans, fallen-away IndyCar fans, and curious NASCAB fans.
But don't ever manipulate races like wrestling-on-wheels NASCAB.
Cleveland, Portland, Vancouver, Montreal, Road America, Watkins Glen,...


alms? classes? all twisty except Indy? ALMS?


Brian McKay is right, and I love that choice of words: "Manipulate". BS yellows are nothing but race manipulation.

It's sad. I *want* to like all racing series. But it's damn hard to look past the edifice of artifice being thrown up by the Cup Car series.

Keep in mind I'm not saying that Indycar is free of manipulation. But I don't get the feeling of contrivance out of Indycar that I feel is there with NASCAR.


I completley disagree with you Bill. AMA Pro Racing, ALMS, Grand Am and F1 all race no ovals and all try and grab the niche you're talking about when it comes to super pure racing. And honesty, it's A. pretty dull (F1/ALMS with no prototypes) and B. it's not very successful (all three) so I don't see how Indycar trying to join that club


is a very good plan. Better I think is to try and focus Indycar as A. the 50-50 series to try and get fans from both sides and B. an extreme sport to get younger fans. oval attendance hasn't been great but to be honest, Cup attendance at Chicagoland and Kansas isn't super either so I think it comes down to the track's location more than anything. Also, there's a big difference between an Indycar oval race at Chicagoland or Texas and a NASCAR one. One (Indycar) is an incredibly exciting 2-300 mile race while the other is a 4-500 mile snoozefest. want to grow Indycar oval racing? Convince ESPN to show one right after the NASCAR snoozefest at the aforementioned tracks. With the TV contract negotiations going on in NASCAR, espn might even be up for that to screw with NASCAR during the process.

Mike R

Question: How/why was the oval racing in the 'old days' on the short tracks and the high banked 2-mile ovals better than what we've had for the last 12 or so years?
It was the cars as they used to be.
A) The money to run different chassis (Penske, Swift, Reynard, Lola, Eagle, March) led to different capabilities. Now there isn't enough disposable dough in the budgets to make that happen. So now we have a spec-chassis series. B) Finally with different mfgs for engines there's at least a chance for differing torque curves and the accompanying opportunity for contesting positions. But again, with cost cutting strategies, the engines have to last nearly 2K miles or be penalized. Again, the money issues surface.
As they go forward with different aero packages next year coupled with various engines, we may see some actual separation on track, which does lend itself to real competition (see what's going on today between Chevy and Honda?).
So Indy, 3 short ovals (Iowa, Milwaukee and Phoenix, and what's wrong with going to one or more of those twice in a season like they used to?), at least one 2-miler (more potential for successful races at Michigan than Fontana) and get back to the kick-ass street/road races like Cleveland and such...but eventually, they're gonna have to address the issue of not enough horsepower in these cars to "wow" the fans in attendance. As I've said before, Indy cars (even on road courses) used to drop jaws with how fast they were. That aspect is largely gone, and with it they're more or less just another in a long list of racing series, where only purists can "see" the excitement. When they don't look fast, they don't gather much attention.


Regardless of the "clean racing is pure racing" concept, most "fans" watch racing for the unintended contact, the close wheel to wheel, nudging and shoving, that sometimes turns into out right collisions and race ending drama.

Add to that the post race interviews and on track rivalries created and you have....."fan" interest, Sports Center highlights, and possibly rising TV ratings.

I think it's easier to keep a yellow free flat oval race then on a twisty, as there are way more chances of contact. Keeping the yellows locals is important IMHO.

Lastly full course yellows are less common in F1 due to the ACRES of run off available, (see this weekends Bahrain race) with the notable exceptions of Monaco Singapore, and Valencia, all street circuits.

Gurney Eagle

It seems to me that Champ Car tried the non-oval route and went out of business. There needs to be ovals, preferably 50-50 but even 1/3 ovals, 1/3 road and 1/3 street would be OK. I agree about the yellows. The fewer the better. That and the length of the races are the reasons I hardly ever watch NASCAR anymore.


I couldn't agree with Mike R. more! Anytime you are racing a spec-series, there is not enough differentiation to make it very interesting--even to the ardent fan. The Indy car I grew up with valued innovation--what could make me go faster than my competitor? And I agree with the horsepower statement. Bobby Unser was fond of saying "there is no substitute for pure horsepower." That would help restore the "wow" factor to this series.


I consider myself a 'traditonalist' meaning I prefer Indycars on mostly ovals, with a glad sprinkling of left-rights also.

I've also come to appreciate the subtlety of a well-driven and managed road course (espec one with elevation changes) when the mere nature of the beast causes differentiation between cars. While I prefer roads to streets, I fully understand the economics of where we go and why.

I can live w-out the cookie-cutter 1.5 milers... there I said it.

I could be happy the rest of my life with a Cinnamon Girl and I could be happy with 4 ovals per season, IF they were classics and also maintained consistent slots on the calendar. IMS plus any 3 of the following for me: Milwaukee, Iowa, Pocono, MIS, and Phoenix.

Decrease the mechanical grip on roads/streets, decrease the downforce on ovals and you already have all the horsepower you need although bumping to 750 would make them a real handful with less grip.


Ditto what Mike R. said (and what Dylan, Carburetor, DZ, Gurney Eagle said as well).

Gimme speed, gimme big ovals, gimme racing!


One of the most monumentally stupid things Kevin Kalkoven did in the last days of ChampCar was publically close the door on racing at certain tracks (Milwaukee, notably).

Frankly, I think doing this privately (much less publically) would be unwise for IndyCar. Race where it is reasonably safe and where you can make money, tracks have fallen in and out and in and out of these categories over American open-wheel racing's history.

Tom G.

I'm with you p-dog. Yellows bore me to tears, and running 500 mile races, stopping every 50 for a new set of Goodyears and Sunoco Race Fuel, seems pointless. I'd rather go to the Sprint Car races and watch them elimination heats, leading up to an A-main. Then at least the short sprints between fill-ups mean something.

I'm embracing the inner twisty, but still hoping that we can get 4-5 small ovals on the schedule every year. Iowa, and Milwaukee make for great racing, and running races in 40K seat tracks filled with race fans looks a hell of a lot better, than acres of empty aluminum at 1.5 mile high banked ovals.

Regarding the crashing = interest, I do think a little contact on twisties is good. Nothing wrong with the occasional chrome horn. But festivals of carbon fiber on ovals lead to 15 minute caution periods. Unless I'm standing in line for a porta-john, I can't much see the point in that,


If road and street courses were the future here, then F1 should be more popular in the US. I guess Indycar has a leg up on them here, given that they race in this hemisphere live and there are a few Americans racing in the league.

Frankly, I'd rather watch ALMS for the rights and lefts, because they drive cooler cars. If you're giving up on ovals for the IRL because of NASCAR, then you should give up on trying to compete with them for TV audience. IRL is then relagated to the warm up act for the Coca Cola 600 and a traveling circus that might show up in town if you have a track in your area.

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