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July 15, 2010


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The "Indiana First" thing bothered me the most. I mean, it's a national series, and you make your decision that affects the future of the sport to help boost Speedway Indiana?!?!? It's kinda telling the rest of us, unless we live in Indiana, to go f**k ourselves, at least that's how I interpred it.

Roy Hobbson

HAHA, suck it, SUCKERS!!! IN!-DI!-AN!-A!! (clap, clap, clapclapclap)

Seriously, tough break, rest of the United States & possibly the world. And it's only getting tougher. Because starting in 2014, 90% of all IndyCar merchandising sales goes straight to the Butler University Marching Band Scholarship Fund.

(Well written piece here, Your Dogness.)


You're right, Dog--I think some frustration comes from the fact that there wasn't a car, just a hologram of a maybe car. They came up with (hopefully) a real good idea for the future, but the lack of something tangible is disappointing.

Seems to me they stated they wanted the tub built in Indiana a long time ago. Just like the said it'd be a spec car. I think some folks just hoped they'd change their minds.

It's also very exciting to think that skilled, responsible, sober Hoosier workers like Roy Hobbson will be assembling these state-of-the-art race cars.

Tom G.

I say we all need to chill a bit, and give it some time.
Was it anti-climactic? Yeah.

Was it over-produced? Probably.
But I'd rather they err on the side of over-hyping than under-hyping.

I think that us hardcore fans, (which is anyone reading this post) wouldn't have felt satisfied with anything less than exploding fireworks on stage, and A.J. his-self, busting into the auditorium at Mach 2 behind the wheel of a hovercraft.

I think if we look back to 12 months ago, we'd all be thrilled with an announcement like this. Hey, it's a pragmatic approach for an "open" spec, spec-race car, with multiple engine suppliers. Of course, as you so rightly point out, all of the parties beside Dallara & Honda are TBD. But realistically, until they unveiled the direction they intended to go, how could we expect any manufacturers to sign up? I think in the coming days, weeks, months, we'll start to hear of groups that are interested in participating. Lotus is hinting at it already.

So, I'm saying the glass is half full.

Half full of Scotch even. And how can that be anything but good?

Jim Bob

When your sport is so far off the radar and so irrelevent as it is today, you better just be glad for anything you can get at this point.

Why shouldn't Indiana be high-lighted. Its Indianapolis Car Racing. Who gives 2 dumps about the rest of the world or other parts of the country. AOW is born and bred in the American midwest. NASCAR is based in North Carolina. Indy Car is based in Indiana. Deal with it.

It will all come to getting more interesting and sellable American drivers in the sport anyway, if it ever comes back. Until that happens, all of this crap really doesn't matter much.


If you actually want the series to be successful, there has to be more to it than just Indy. "Who gives two dumps about the rest of the world or other parts of the country" um... let's see. Well, lets see. Maybe the fans who, I don't know.... LIVE OUTSIDE OF INDY!!!!!! WHICH ARE A LOT OF THEM!!!!

The Speedgeek

Hey-o! Tom's exactly right where I am with the whole thing. Fact of the matter is, if they'd have announced ANY of the options that we've seen to this point (Delta Wing excepted) we'd have seen nothing but holograms and computer renderings. What IndyCar had to do was get the basic specification out there, throw things open to everybody (road car manufacturers, aerospace companies, universities, composite shops, race car manufacturers) and say "this is what we're doing. You're all invited to participate. You've got six months to figure out whether you're a 'thumbs up' or a 'thumbs down' for 2012."

Are there a lot of questions yet to be answered? Yes, most definitely. But think about it. If they'd have announced ANYTHING yesterday, we'd have had questions as well. Delta Wing? Questions (like, will 90% of people who tune into the 500 either laugh or vimit?). Lola and Dallara as the only chassis manufacturers in open competition? Questions (like, what happens to the half of the field that picks the wrong one? Don't laugh, I've heard several people complaining about the teams that pick the wrong aero package, which, duh, always a risk in racing. You want a sure thing? Go get a non-racing job, like this wussy boy did.). Spec Swift? Questions (like, wait, spec racing? Again? Waaaahhhhh!).

Now that the concept announcement is out of the way, we have plenty of time for things like specific technical specs to be worked out and we've got plenty of time for other manufacturers to come on board. EVERY person I've read in blogs or comments has said that we need a new car. Here you go. We've got one. Don't like it? Well, then please tell me your $400k-per-car solution that would go 250 MPH, capture the hearts of the American public, be undriveable by anybody who was born south of San Antonio or east of Maine, and instantly pull 4.0 TV numbers. I've got an open mind. Let's hear it.


As I've stated multiple times, I don't find the cost reduction important, because COST REDUCTION HAS NEVER WOREKD. Let's see, NASCAR's COT was suposed to save money because teams wouldn't need to build 10-15 of them per driver, but... well, they are. I agree rasing costs would be bad, but if we could have had non spec racing with equal prices, then spec ish racing and lower costs for chassis, because in the end it's irrelevant. The only good thing is they at least didn't grandfather in the current cars. I'd be a little more entusiastic, or at least be able to direct my criitisims, if they had any actual plans, but in fact the rules haven't been written....

And the other thing is, does this fix the isssues Indycar racing has. Will this make the road courses exciting? Will we see passing again at Indy? Are we going to have to rely on "Open Kit" makers to make kit's that will be conductive towards ontrack racing????

The Speedgeek

NASCAR screwed up their CoT thing beacuse big teams had plenty of cash laying around to be able to build 10-15 CoTs. So, they could afford to build cars that were tailor made for each track, just like they did before. Meanwhile, the small teams who can only afford to have 2-3 cars in the shop are just going extinct because sponsor dollars are flocking to top Cup and Nationwide teams. The new IndyCar is supposed to be far more interchangeable, and the nature of open wheel racing has almost always been to use the same car for almost every track.

I don't really get your stance against lowering costs, Dylan. If you don't watch the costs and make it so that teams can afford to buy in, then where are your teams (and therefore cars and drivers, the things people turn on the TV to watch) going to come from? You drive out SFR, DCR, dFR, DRR, NHR, HVM, Foyt, Panther, Fazzt and Conquest (all teams in varying levels of distress) by allowing the price of cars escalate past where they are now, but then demanding that they buy new ones for 2012 or else they're out of luck? Now we're down to 10-12 cars, and nobody in any series short of F1 has the kind of money to replace those teams on the grid. At least if you make the cars affordable, then you've got a fighting chance of holding on to the teams that are on the grid now, and you stand a good chance of interesting teams who may be interested in migrating over from the rapidly dying ALMS and GrandAm.

Fred Hurley

Well, Jim Bob, they should care because they damn sure want me to haul a half-dozen members of my family north to Loudon next July, and buy a bunch of food, hats, shirts, stickers, and pit passes while we're there.

That said, I have no problem with the focus on IN yesterday. It makes sense to have the production centers close to the headquarters. Check where they're building tube-frame stock cars these days.

Most importantly, focusing on the Indiana connection got 28 efforts a $200K discount from the state of Indiana. That's money that teams, the series, and the manufacturers don't need to come up with, and it goes a long way toward preventing the drop-off in field size you often see when a series updates its equipment.

Fred Hurley

Oh, and as for why they're building the tubs in Indy, here is a quote from the press release that I think lots of folks are missing:

"As part of the new chassis strategy, the IZOD IndyCar Series will increase its technical staff and facilities significantly, positioning the series as a leading-edge technical organization in worldwide motorsports."

There is a plan here that isn't very sex, maybe, but could pay off big time down the road. NHRA is already heavily based in Indy, and IndyCar is expanding its footprint. Lots of sprint car racing, too. Dallara doesn't have to use that new factory for JUST Indy tubs, either. This is a plan to make Indy THE place to go if you want to design, build, or race cars. And I saw someone (forget who) suggest that a wind tunnel be built near the factory that be available to all teams, to help level the playing field. I think there's a very good chance that's part of the new factory. This wasn't just about a chassis. This plan actually could make IndyCar the most open and development-forward series around. If you stop and read the engine and chassis announcements without the baggage of being a long-time fan, they're frankly shockingly open and free. So yeah, there were too many flashing lights. But it was a damn sight better than three years of missed deadlines and aimless wandering in the racing wilderness.

Savage Henry

Regarding getting companies to pony up and get in the engine or aero package game, auto manufacturers like Chevy or Honda might see an opportunity in developing an engine and aero package combination. So a team could run a Chevy engine and Chevy aero package on a car that could legitimately be branded as a Chevy. It would be more of a Chevy than the COT, where Chevy makes a spec engine the same as everyone else's and provides headlight and tail light decals to put on the spec chassis.

I see the possibility of the auto industry getting in on this game. There will be cost associated with it, but I have a hard time believing that Ford, Chevy, or Buick were expecting to turn a profit when they were supplying engines in previous eras of IndyCar racing. If they could get legitimate marketing and R&D value out of being in the series, then they could easily sell it internally as a loss leader.

Overly optimistic? Possibly. But there's a ligitimate business case for companies to do so.

Also, I hope they keep the regs on the aero packages as wide open as possible. I'd like to see a car with small (or no) wings with an F1-style diffuser bolted to the back of it, or other aero ideas that we've never seen in IndyCar racing. If they do roll out a 3-inch thick book that severely limits the amount of innovation possible, I'll be disappointed. I'd like to see some radical designs get their chance on the track and then gain credibility or fail on their own merits.


I'm still not certain where I stand on this. I am really not digging the concept yet I understand it's economic necessity. As much as I would like to see Dallara v. Lola v. Swift on the track, right now it is just economically unfeasible (and it looks like it may not be for quite some time). I definitely do not like the idea of giving teams a discount based on whether or not they are located in Indiana.

Ultimately, I think we all have to reserve judgment until we find out whether or not manufacturers are going to buy into the concept. Right now we don't know and that is a massive unknown...

Pat W

I think the Series needs to hire Speedgeek - I agree with everything you've written here.

Sure there are problems with this concept. Marshall Pruett has done an excellent job of identifying some quite serious concerns. But I thought that's what racing was about, putting problems in front of talented people who try to solve them. Surely over the next three to six months the rules will be ironed out, not necessarily publically, and with a ton of work by all concerned it'll come together into a realistic package. I'm yet to be sold on engines, I need to know more, but that wasn't the focus and intention of this announcement - I suspect we'll have another with those details later.

Whether we'll get many people making aero packs is debatable. On the one hand I can see lots lining up at the start, then falling away as they are beaten. On the other hand I can see us with a field of spec Dallaras for the first half of 2012 with packs being released during 2012 and 2013 as various companies complete them. I'm not sure which will be true if any, or maybe both. Nonetheless it'll be a fun process to watch as a fan. The other idea I had was that if someone DOES make a superior pack and nobody can keep up, surely in 4 or 5 years time we're due another base chassis change anyway (I don't see this one lasting 9 years as well), so we just change the specs again?

I appreciate the reason for the call to everyone from small companies right up to Lockheed and Boeing, but I think that was a PR statement at emphasising the point that "we're open to all". We won't see any of those entering. We'll see more racing companies entering, whether it be teams or engine manufacturers or whatever. One thing I raised on Twitter was the potential for F1 teams to enter with a relatively limited expenditure - I see the new Lotus as being ideal, and I see the all-new not-co-owned-by-Mercedes-any-more McLaren being interested in their history too. Unfortunately I don't see why Lola or Swift would bother, Dallara is a direct competitor - though perhaps they'd be interested in being commissioned by somebody else who'd badge it.

I think people were being a tad naive if they were talking themselves into believing we'd have fully open chassis competition at this point. It is too early for that. Nobody can afford that.

Mike R

Does anyone know, has Dallara actually already designed a tub for this project?

If they're supposed to buy or lease then equip/build a shop, hire a staff of people who can design it (far more of an effort than an artist's rendition of a theoretical design) and put it together (let's see, we're about 60% of the way through 2010...) then present their design(s) to all who 'may want to participate'? Or do the supposed participants to-be just jump in blind, not knowing what kind of shitbox Dallara may build for them to put their 'package' on?

I can easily see this slipping into a panic to actually make it happen with anything other than a Dallara tub, with only Dallara's aero package. If they haven't already designed this Safety Cell-Tub back in Italy, and haven't already started things rolling in Indy for the facility, then they're already behind the 8-ball.

The Speedgeek

Pat, you are far, far too kind, and thank you for that. I'm with you. There are plenty of potential problems with this new car/concept (whatever you want to call it), but really, there are plenty of problems with ANY potential solution to the next car. What IndyCar has done, though, is to leave plenty of room for new companies, teams and sponsors to come on board. I'm certain that the path that they've taken has protected for that as much as any other path they could have taken. I'm particularly interested, for instance, in the potential for a major auto maunfacturer to throw $5 million at Bruce Ashmore to develop a branded aero kit, and then wind up with 10-20 "Fords" or "Buicks" on the grid. Of course, those companies would also have to come out with their own engine, or else it'd be a "Ford-Honda" or a "Buick-Honda", but you get my point. Ooh, or as Pat said, maybe a "McLaren-Honda"? I likes the sounds of that...maybe Bruno Senna could be convinced to give up on his F1 dreams for that? Anyway, I'm not so sure that this option would have even existed had the League gone down any other path.

Are there potential problems? Sure. Was there some backdoor dealing for Dallara to get the contract again, possibly something involving 50 cases of Chianti or a horse's head in somebody's bed? I don't know, but I also don't really care. As long as Dallara can produce a chassis that's at least as safe (and hopefully safer) as the current car, can hit its price point, and can deal fairly with any potential aero suppliers, then I'm just fine with them getting the deal.

SS Minnow

I see this as a tremendous business opportunity if I had some cash laying around. For a small company, it is always a risk-reward scenario. Let's say I had a crazy idea, threw a bunch of carbon fiber at it and it worked (and it met all the safety requirements). My cousin and I could mold this stuff in my basement and still turn a HUGE profit..... if it worked. If it doesn't, well I just gambled and the dealer drew 21 and I lost what I was comfortable betting.

Ok, prehaps a Jack Daniels too many last night and a fancy of a pipe dream but I do have a concern. The current "aero package" was introduced at Kentucky last year and has been hit (at least at KY last year) or miss (pick your favorite snooze-fest). The issue with the previous version was the.... wait for it...... dirty air. Can you imagine what kind of air you might see out of this scenario? Imagine a new package that runs decent in traffic with whatever iteration of aero that is common in 2012/13 but kicks up a hurricane of dirty air for the poor souls behind them. How quick are the rules changed to ban it? While probably not as quick as the old guard of AAA and/or USAC but I can't imagine the sanctioning body letting it go on too long. Maybe that's the point though. Who can build the best to combat the disturber? Again random thoughts while nursing a hangover don't usually go well.


"Who gives 2 dumps about the rest of the world or other parts of the country"

Abd that, ladies and gents, is the attitude that brought AOWR to its current pathetic condition.

Erwin Calverley

Cost-reduction in those type of cars is a myth. For certain, if you want souped up engines you got to shell out a lot of money. Maybe it has an edge over others, but consider also the skill of the driver and its pit crew.

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