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May 06, 2011


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I asked on Trackside and curtcavin said the Dallara chassis will come complete with it's aero kit, while other aero kits will cost 70 grand. That's 70,000 pretty good reasons to run a Dallara aero kit.

Sounds like the kits won't be ready in time to start the '12 season. Disappointing. Now I wonder if Chevy and Lotus engines will be ready to start the season?

New cars in 2013 for sure!!!

Leigh O'Gorman

After a few days thinking about this...

"...“I really don’t understand what the complaint is or why we’re making such a big deal out of this,” said Penske. “I mean, ultimately I think all the cars are all going to look the same anyway so let’s move on.”..."

Thing is, he's absolutely correct. Chances are, adorn a few cars with different aero kits and paint them all plain white and most hardened fans will struggle to tell the difference.
The real difference will be in performance - an area also covered by the engines.

Was the release poorly framed and worded? Yes.
Is this the end of the world for IndyCar? Not really.

Tom G.

If it is a money thing, why the hell are Chipster and The Captain against it? Correct me if I'm wrong but I've never seen money be an issue for the Red teams.

So, hypothetically speaking, if all teams run the same kit, who gains an advantage? Well, if all kits are "the same" then it stands to reason that only the minor tweaks found during wind tunnel testing can separate performance of the cars. So the Red teams would benefit most.

If I'm Dale Coyne I pay the 70K and take my chances that the Chevy/Lotus/West Lafayette Bumblefuck Special aero kit will give me an advantage over the Red teams. What the hell do I have to lose? Also if I'm Dale Coyne, I buy some better clothes.


Penske's wrong, though. First off, current Indycar fans care, and second off, casual Indycar fans who are hardcore racing fans of another type (NASCAR, Sports Car, F1, ect) will care. So it does matter. And 70K isn't that much for most of them. The kits are optional so if you don't want a 2nd one in May you don't have to do it. Thus, there is no problem. And even if you do buy a kit, and it's not all that great, you can fallback on the dallara. Sorry, but I'm not buying the owners BS. It really feels like a power play or some attempt to revive CART, where team owners run the show. And that's not acceptable.


I agree, Leigh, that visually this is not that big of a deal. But the kits were sold to the fans on the idea that they would create visual difference AND performance differences. Saying "hey, never mind on the kit thing" now after it was a main selling point for choosing the Dallara is what is setting fans off. Again, if no teams have to buy other kits, what's the issue here? If they are too expensive, don't buy them. If nobody buys, the kits go the way of the Falcon chassis, I guess. That's business. Of course your fans may go the way of the Falcon chassis as well because they are bored with new car, same result. But that's business as well, I guess.

The Speedgeek

That last comment of yours from a couple of mintues ago hits the nail right on the head, 'Dog: "Saying 'hey, never mind on the kit thing' now after it was a main selling point for choosing the Dallara is what is setting fans off."

I am usually Mr. Kumbaya here (and elsewhere, wherever I feel like cluttering the world with my shiny, happy pixels), am I not? But the whole aero kit being delayed until 2013 thing has me furious. The aero kit genie has been out of the bottle since July 14th last year, and now will not go back in. I know full well that we're liable to wind up eventually with 3-4 aero kits that only an engineer with an aerospace degree (um, I'm not one of those) can tell apart with the naked eye, but it's the idea of having different combinations of machinery that can have different levels of performance on the track that's been what the Series has been missing. I could only tell the Panoz/G-Force apart from the Dallara by the shape of the airbox and the fact that the Dallara had pullrod front spsuepsion to the G-Force's pushrods, but the fact that those two chassis would perform differently on different tracks made a huge difference in the technical interest in the Series.

I've been flogging this idea for a while, but I know plenty of "car guys" who can not get into the current iteration of IndyCar because all the cars are exactly the same. Put 3 different engines out there and 3 different aero options, and suddenly, you've got 9 different potential combinations. Suddenly, those car guys have to at least take a look. Now, those 5 million (or whatever giant 7-digit number it is) subscribers of Car & Driver magazine or those 50,000+ people who watch Fast Lane Daily (where Leo Parente has called IndyCar "Dead To Me" for going on a year now because of the spec racing thing) on YouTube every day have to at least see what the fuss is about. That's what we're trying to capture with the aero kits. That's what I'm not sure the car owners have quite gotten their heads around.


We (remaining diehard) fans don't lack for understanding of the difficulties for owners and we totally respect the depth of commitment.

What the owners (granted who have skin in the game) don't seem to understand and the reason many of the remaining 237 fans are going all honey badger on this issue is that the fans have been pushed back (on several issues, not just this one) and now armed with the power of the internet, we can be heard - loudly and clearly. We've been patiently waiting for new chassis and motors since 2008?! Done. Waiting.

We love this sport as much as the owners do. We have no skin in the game EXCEPT we are the people those sponsor dollars come looking for. All 237 of us. When you pi$$ us off, we don't care about your perceived problems anymore.

We just want what's been missing for far too long; non-spec-and-identical-appearing, better-than-mediocre-performing race cars. Guess what? So do other people who could be fans. They want intrigue, storylines, a reason to watch. Blandtastic just doesn't sell very well to the masses.

No more excuses, make it happen.


I did actually think, "EVEN SPEEDGEEK IS PISSED." I swear. You are usually the "simmer down, everything will be OK, the new car is coming." I agree with your arguments.


Fans want different (looking/performing) cars. Owners want cheap cars. The Dallara tub + stick-on parts was the big compromise that made nobody completely happy, but seemed reasonable given the economy and the state of the series.

Now the owners want a new spec Dallara.

Because owners are arrogant and don't care about fans.

Savage Henry

I'm still betting the owners are angling for a subsidy. When the subsidy doesn't come things will play out naturally - some teams will by a 2nd kit and others won't.

The only thing that would mitigate this opinion is if the aero kit manufacturers are telling the owners behind the scenes that the kits won't be ready.


sorry to keep writing today, but this deal sort of pisses me off also.

Savage--you may be right. I'm wondering not only about the status of the Chevy and Lotus aero kits, but the status of the Chevy and Lotus engines...will that announcement be next?

If Penske runs a Chevy engine I don't think Chevy will overcharge Penske for aero kits. They'll want a Chevy/Chevy.

I disagree with Leigh and Penske--probably not a wise choice--but I think the aero kits (if and when) will be distinctive and unique enough to tell the difference, if only cosmetically. That's the point of the thing.

And I may have mentioned this before, but I'll bet the Nascar COT cars were a much bigger investment for Penske and Ganassi than this. Okay, venting accomplished...

Concerned Fan

Look, folks. Let's stop making assumptions.

- You don't know if kits will make a big visual difference or not. (Cotman says that they will, BTW)

- Unanimity in vote does not mean unanimity in opinion.

I think it is safe to assume that owners voted unanimously by agreement. They talked it over, came to a decision, and then did what ICONIC did last year: voted unanimously.

Roger Penske is the guy who said "the car doesn't matter," and wanted to keep running the current car until 2013, so I think I'll ignore the crap that comes out of Roger's mouth.

I want to know what the fucking problem is. Are owners being forced to buy anything more than a Dallara aerokit? If not, then why are they taking votes in the first place?

What the hell is going on?

The Speedgeek

Good questions, all, Mr. Fan. I have (and if you can all please disguise your shock when I say this, I'd appreciate it) some comments.

True, we don't know if the kits will look different. If they do, bonus. I'd love it. I'm just not holding my breath beacuse everybody who's talking about making a kit has a wind tunnel and CFD, and those tend to produce similar results if run long enough. Either way, though, I hope that they produce cars that perform different, even if it's only slightly and even if it's only on certain tracks. There's value in that, same as there's value in having different brands on different cars.

Very true about "unanimity in vote if not opinion". That's what's been so puzzling about Mike Hull's vote for Ganassi. He made an impassioned plea for the kits, but then voted against them? How's that work? I'd love some explanation there.

"Are owners being forced to buy anything more than a Dallara aerokit?" Excellent question. If that's what's going on, then I understand 100% what the owners are upset about. If that's not what's going on, then I don't know what element we're missing.

I've heard now from Tony Cotman and Keith Wiggins (guys who are on opposite sides of this debate, to boot) that there are all sorts of factors that the folks outside of the meetings aren't aware of and which would change all of our opinions on what's going on. Um, OK. What's so private, then? What's going to change our opinion? Are we going to find out that the car owners are requesting that Dallara provide an extra hauler at every race, one that's decked out with a bunch of sweet plasma screens and bottle service and which only the owners can use? Are we going to find out that Dallara has said that they're planning on laying up the carbon fiber using only the tears of homeless orphans?

We're all ears, fellas. Lay it on us.


Even thr Geek has gone over to the Snark Side. I have a request in for The Answer but breath not being held.

Chris Lukens

I’m not sure I buy the argument that the owners can’t afford to spend $70,000. $70K is not chickenfeed, but in the scheme of things for an Indycar budget it’s not that much. Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t a front wing on a Dallara cost $35,000. And how many of those have been purchased in the first four races.

I think this is the opening shot in the war the owners are launching to show Randy B who actually runs this series. The start and restarts at Long Beach were just a test skirmish.

The Speedgeek

Chat happening on with Robin Miller, Marshall Pruett and Mike Hull right now...

The Speedgeek

Talk has veered away from the aero kit debate at the live chat, but what we heard from Mike Hull is more or less what we've been kicking around the last couple of days: the Dallara kit is included in the chassis purchase price, nobody is required to buy a second kit, teams may feel compelled to buy a second kit if one shows up at Indy and is instantly much faster, but there is no requirement to do so.

I'm still curious as to what those "unexplained game changing factors" that we haven't heard yet. Still waiting to hear those...


So I guess the owners voted against having even the possibility of buying something, though they are under no obligation to buy it -- ever. Makes less sense now than ever. How about this: can't afford it, don't buy it. ??

The Speedgeek

I'm as perplexed as you. Hull made some very well thought out comments on the chat (you can find the transcript here: that said basically "what's wrong with leaving open the concept of open competition? Isn't that what auto racing is all about? Leave the aero kit thing "floating" (his word there, most of the rest of this is my approximation, so I may be doing a touch of editorializing) and people can buy them if they have the means to." Also, Mike said that he thinks that the engine manufacturers could probably be leaned on to offer their kits for even less than the previously quoted $75k, if that's going to keep the issue open.

I just don't get it. What are we missing? Are we not rich enough to understand part of this? I'll be mulling these questions over tonight as I enjoy a "blended" scotch, as opposed to the 25-year single malt stuff that I think that maybe the car owners drink like it's apple juice.

Ivo Beutler

Yep it's not a big deal, actually. Some rules and parts change from time to time, even in prestigious races such as F1 and LeMans. They do this to conform with the newest safety or legal procedures. It may be unpopular at first, but I'm sure won't affect the popularity of motorsports.

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