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June 08, 2014


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The opening first laps with Marco Andretti passing cars three wide on the topside was fun to watch. There were some other quality passes but, for the most part, I found the race boring. Old Texas was insanity. This looked a lot more like practice.

As far as avoiding the disaster in Las Vegas, listening to the drivers would've helped that. It was ridiculous to start the race. The inevitable happened. Want to avoid that? Don't race there. Don't wreck the other races because poor judgement was shown at Vegas.


The attendance looked horrible as well last night. I wonder if the fans think the racing isn't what it used to be. I'm afraid Texas will get dropped if Indycar schedules Circuit of the Americas.


interesting/good points, Dog. how many people would watch Nascar if there was no contact or no wrecks? probably about as many as were in the stands at Texas last night.

the whole safety vs. speed or sanity vs. "insanity" is an important topic for Indycar. if Nascar's claim to fame is "rubbin' is racin'" then Indycar's was driving at speeds that were insane. the quandry is that no one wants to see anybody hurt, yet we expect to see the super-speedy action that makes it better than Nascar. I'm not explaining that very well, but it's something I wonder about in terms of Indycar's future on ovals.

another "touchy" topic you touched on is the whole "technical racing" for the racing purist vs. entertainment for the masses. Which I think maybe are two different things.

and as long as I'm talking about things I don't know much about, I was wondering about horsepower. as long as drivers have to actually drive (no flat out) because of aero, couldn't they also increase horsepower? like so they go real fast, yet have to brake for turns? wouldn't that help speeds and separation?

Lastly, wouldn't be surprised to see COTA replace the oval. The way things are going, wouldn't be surprised if they were down to one oval in a few years.

Ted Wolfram

Well stated Dog! May I give a bit of a different view?

The problem is really "SPEC" racing isn't it?

If we had cars (Yes, even a "junk formula") where there were cars that looked different, sounded different and drove different....we'd not need to have a orchestrated race controlled by the powers that be....which is what we have now.

How many people in the stands is NOT what is is how many watched on TV....and I'll bet it'll not be good!

One last point.....any series run by the owners as this series really sure to fail. Racing should not be about the team should be about the fans, and it should be a test of driver skill...not a test of how well race control plans the race and from that the outcome!

One positive....Will Power if he wasn't in a Verizon owned--oops---I mean Penske owned car...he wouldn't have the luxury of running out of talent every time he enters the pits!!

I am peed off a bit to think I stayed up to time I'll record it...and fast forward to anything interesting which will take about maybe 20 minutes!!

I am going to watch Pocono....Go Danica!!


I got into Indycar for close racing and high speeds and as I've said on twitter and wrote on my blogs, Indycar's removed them from Texas. Yeah, it was basically a NASCAR race, and not a good one. What we saw was the Coke 600 or the Johnson led snoozefest at Dover turned into an Indycar race. Almost no one left on the lead lap? Check. Few cautions? Check. One or two drivers lead almost every lap? Check.

What we saw at Texas was not entertaining to me. When a guy has a 14 second lead on a 1.5 mile oval, that's not entertaining. When someone can get a pit road speeding penalty and still be 6th during a green flag run, that tells you things were spread out. At least Ed won. And yes, you are 100% correct, no one can say "Ed can't drive." 3 wins, in 3 different situations on ovals. For the record he has as many career wins as James Hinchcliffe (who I really like), and as many as Rahal and Marco combined.

Now I am going to head into dangerous territory, but that's what I'm all about. Wheldon's death was tragic. What was seen at Vegas was not good. HOWEVER, there have been many other injuries/fatalities in Indycar and we didn't change everything for them. Now some would say those were all freak accidents, while Wheldon's was due to the track/pack racing, but a reasonable person could ask why does one fatality negate a ton of safe races at 1.5 mile ovals, but people killed or seriously injured at Toronto or Houston make us not be able to race there?

I hate what Indycar's becoming. They've screwed the fans over for the teams and drivers, and then wonder why ratings are sub-par. The preponderance of street courses and motorcyle road racing tracks suck. I like good road and street racing. I enjoy MotoGP despite Marquez's dominance, and I really like the Pirelli World Challenge.My biggest problem in Indycar right now is that while there is a lot of parity, all the emphasis and focus appears to be on strategy, and passing in the pits, rather than on track. I am sick of fuel savings and tire management in Indycar. That seems to have been all we've talked about this year, outside of the last 50 laps of the Indy 500.


I think the drivers and other fans have succeeded in making some fans (such as myself) feel guilty and ashamed of liking pack racing. I attended races at Chicagoland for years and loved the close racing. Lap after lap of cars packed together inches apart. It was exciting. Some claim there is no driver skill involved in going flat out and not having to lift in the turns. So is there no skill involved in trying not to slam into cars on your inside and outside at 220mph? It's just my preference, but I'd rather see a driver exercise their skills in "threading the needle" than watch a driver battling worn-out tires.

I never want to see anyone killed or injured while racing, but watching cars simply go around, refuel, and change tires is boring. I want cars to be close to each other, and I want a lot of passing. I have been watching IndyCar and NASCAR my whole life (30+ years) and been to probably 20 races, so I'm not some Johnny-come-lately to racing.

For me, a close field and lots of passing are a necessity. I'm not getting that as often as I used to from IndyCar and NASCAR. While Formula 1 races can be a parade or runaway victory at times, at least the races are over in 2-3 hrs. I'm finding myself more excited by F1 races now than IndyCar and NASCAR. The speed, handling, technology, and differentiation of the cars, plus the stellar NBCSN crew make F1 fun to watch.

Pressdog has mentioned race length many times in his tweets. With so many entertainment options and hobbies available these days, it's hard to set aside 3-4 hrs weekly. I like that F1 only takes 3 hrs of my time every other week. If I miss a day of Twitter, I'm suddenly out of the loop with NASCAR. The investment in F1 for me is lower, and the enjoyment I get from it is greater. It's less work for me to be a fan of F1.

I used to feel an obligation to watch every NASCAR and IndyCar race in their entirety, with rapt attention. Now I only care about being entertained. I don't care about being a loyal fan anymore. NASCAR and IndyCar aren't going to give me a gold star for watching every lap of every race. I skipped watching Dover last week. I don't think I missed out on anything exciting. I don't know if I'm going to watch all of Pocono on my DVR (watched F1 live) or just fast-forward to the final 20 laps.

All I know is racing doesn't entertain me as much as it used to. A balance has to be found in having an exciting racing product that is also safe for competitors and fans. Both IndyCar and NASCAR are missing that balance on a regular basis, and it is showing in the stands and in the TV ratings.

Will Schilling

Thank you Martin. I agree. It absolutely takes driver skill running tht close, side by side not to have a big crash. I don't care if I get flamed for this, but the road racing set has ruined open wheel oval track racing in this country. I hope they enjoy not getting paid unlike other major racing series in the world. So even though it's a sport I still love, and I love the package of this car on road courses, their elitist attitude is about to drive me from being a die hard into Triple Crown 500 mile watcher only.


I feel like Texas stopped being insanity long before 2011. Before Dan Wheldon's accident there was Kenny Brack in 2003, and before him there was Davey Hamilton in 2001, so the push to break up the packs started a lot earlier. Actually, Texas started to feel disappointing around the mid 2000's, when Penske and Ganassi started winning everything.

Today's Indy cars are built for road/street courses and flat ovals like Indy and Milwaukee, because that's where they've generated the most interest. If they had all kinds of money, maybe they could develop and use separate aero kits for road/street courses and for ovals, but there would have to be a demand for it.


D--I thought they were developing separate twisty/oval aerokits.


Flat out with downforce days does not = great racing or take great talent. Example Milka Duno. Let's move on.


No race seems to inspire drama like a "bad" race at Texas. We get boisterous complaints, zealous defenses, well-wrought opinions about the future of the sport as a whole, and open rooting for a title-sponsored event that draws a fair crowd to leave to the schedule.

Truly, I take no issue with constructive criticism of the racing at Texas. I enjoyed the racing, and I also know it could have been much more exciting. I know it translates much better in person than on television, and I know that is an issue in a sports landscape dominated by television revenue.
I would, however, recommend rolling with the punches that come with individual events and even whole racing seasons. There are times in all sports when things become more interesting and less interesting, we watch because the more interesting is always possible (and, I would say, occurred late Saturday night).

Something non-technical that would help Indycar's racing at Texas (or any oval, really) is a larger field. The more cars there are, the greater the likelihood that multiple cars are competing for the lead and the greater the chance of race-changing incidents occurring. Of course, that's an issue for another discussion.

The Speedgeek

I won't throw out all my thoughts here (they might just spur me to put up my first blog post in over three months), but I would like to throw out a few questions:

1) Might the fact that only two guys led laps (not including Montoya, who basically just led during pit stop rotations) be related to the fact that only those two guys appeared to completely nail the setup, and so nobody else was really capable of leading?

2) Might Will Power (and later, Ed Carpenter) have been able to pull a 12-14 second lap lead due to the fact that there were two 100+ lap stretches of green flag racing, thereby allowing the "good" cars to stretch their legs and pull a gap (after all, a 14 second lead developed over 100 laps equates to an average of just a 0.14 second per lap advantage)? Might the gaps between cars have been a bit smaller with more cautions (not that I'd prefer such a thing, since I'm basically OK either way)?

3) Might the fact that we see a whole lot less time spent with cars going wheel to wheel be related to the fact that in days gone by (about 8-10 years ago), most of the the front running cars were going roughly the same speed and the tires were not falling off (Firestone has talked at length about how they've tweaked the tires so that they change over a stint), so completing a pass could require several laps of going side-by-side with somebody, inching forward a bit with every lap, whereas this weekend's race featured passes (and there were many, many passes, just only a couple for the lead) that were basically set up and executed in less than a half a lap? I'd suggest that there's a good chance that there's nearly as much passing going on now, just that they take a fraction as long as they used to.

Just some food for thought.

Ron Ford

NASCAR without contact. How is that a bad thing Dog?

Someone here said that how many people were in the stands is not as important as how many watched on TV. Also many of the comments here relate to how well the "show" looked on TV.

That seems to beg the question: Should all the races be somehow stage managed to maximize TV ratings with all that might entail? I have been to countless races at the Milwaukee Mile. Some were boring, some were not. That's just life at the track. I have also been to many races at Indy. Some were boring, some were not. Some years Vuky was in a different time zone than the rest of the field. If a race like that were to occur today, would folks be whining about how it looked on TV?

At any given race, the teams with the best drivers and best setups and the best luck (on that particular day) will rise to the top. Sometimes by a large margin, sometimes with a photo finish. IMHO, at the core of the seemingly endless complaints about how a race looked on TV is the desire for IndyCar to somehow stage manage every race to make it more exciting. Endless tweaking. God forbid someone might be inclined to switch to hockey because a race was too dull.

Before there was TV, there were races, some boring, some not. The stands were more full or so it seems in my memory. And there were sponsors. Has TV resulted in more popularity for open wheel racing, or has it diluted it? My dad never asked me if I wanted to go to the race or watch hockey.


Ed! Yes!

Side Note: I spent the last three days at Indianapolis Motor Speedway watching several hundred Vintage Race Cars racing on the Road Course and on the Oval. A Blast!

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