SIMON: A couple of months ago I moaned about the British Touring Car Championship and their overly complicated racing regulations which include weight penalties and reverse grids and lottery draws for grid spots. Well IndyCar is getting in on the fun with the race in Iowa this weekend. The second practice session will determine qualification groups for qualification races. The 1st qualification race one will then be made up of even-numbered positions starting from the 10th-quickest practice time, and will decide the grid from 10th downwards. The 2nd will feature the odd-numbered positions and include the 9th fastest time down. The 3rd race will feature the top eight drivers from practice and they will duke it out for the top eight places on the grid. I hope some of this makes sense to you as it made my head hurt.
I understand IndyCar is trying to inject a little extra drama into the race weekend, but I shouldn’t need a slide rule and a responsible adult to explain it. This is racing. First passed the post wins. We don’t need the razzmatazz. It’s got enough already. Do you agree or disagree Tam Tam?
TAMMY: Well, in theory, I agree with you. However, IndyCar has an image problem, and they're trying a lot of different approaches to lure viewers. I think it actually sounds kind of exciting, you know, a chance to see four races instead of one--and given the (short) length of an IndyCar race, that's kind of cool. Though you're right, the formula for all of this seems ... arcane. At least it's better than the random-draw starting grid from the Texas doubleheader last year. The drivers hated that.
I suppose my feeling is sure, give me variety. I like when NASCAR runs road courses (yay for Sonoma this weekend!). I like that ALMS race lengths vary from 2:45 to 4:00 to 6:00 to 10:00(ish) to 12:00. So I like the idea of shaking things up and seeing how the drivers and teams respond ... writing that makes me think of my Monday blog where I wrote that part of what I like about watching endurance racing is seeing how teams and drivers fare when pushed to their limits. Well, this is pushing IndyCar teams and drivers out of their comfort zone. So let's see how they do.
What do the rest of you think? Looking forward to the show? Or do you think it's all a big gimmick the racing series doesn't need?