Editors Note: please join us in welcoming our newest member of the F1B family, Kohl Kirkland! You’ve most likely read Kohl’s stories at his own website regarding all things Indycar and we’ve been remiss in giving the American Open-wheel racing its due justice. Kohl has joined F1B to give us the coverage we’ve been asked to provide as well as defend the series from us F1 snobs here at F1B. It is a real joy to have Kohl on board and now a permanent part of F1B.
The month of May in Indianapolis; what better place is there to be as a race fan? Four weeks of on and off track action building up to the best 500 miles in all of racing. However, this year is different.
The opening week came and went. The “Racing Capital of the World” sat dormant. Instead, the car and stars of the IZOD Indycar Series were hundreds of miles away in Kansas. This year the folks at the corner of 16th and Georgetown decided that the month-long spectacle that is Indy in May would be a puny two weeks. Two. Weeks. Only a handful of days to perfect your car the most difficult 4 laps and open-wheel driver faces; qualifying at Indianapolis. That is followed by just another few days to start fresh and set up that car, once again, for the 200 lap race.
In addition, instead of the usual week between pole day and bump day has been reduced to just 18 hours. Let me paint a picture in your mind. You’re Sarah Fisher going out for a last minute attempt to qualify in the top 11. The first 3 laps go wonderfully. You’re right on the bubble t make it into the race today. The fourth lap, however, doesn’t go as well. Maybe one of the infamous turn 2 wind gusts catch you off guard and the car drifts into the gray offline. The car passes the slip angle and in a matter of seconds you’re sliding down the backstretch with no right side on your Dallara; You have 18 hours to rebuild and set up that car. How hard can it be?
Sure, cutting out two weeks saves a few bucks that would be spent practicing but how much will it cost to rebuild a new car and the not have the speed to get into the field on bump day.
Losing the tradition of May in Indy is a tragedy, of course, but hurting the series long term outlook is worse. the league doesn’t need to be trying to save the teams money by cutting out track time. Give them more! Allow them the time it takes to get up speed. We see it not only at Indy, but in Formula One as well (See HRT). Give the little guys a chance to get into the biggest race in America, don’t kill his chances by trying to cut out a few dollars for them.