Friday, March 9, 2012

Who will miss pack racing?

 Will it be those 20,000 people that showed up to the last race at Chicago? Maybe those 10,000 that showed up to the last race at Kentucky will miss it. I bet it will be the 200,000 people that watched the 2009 Kansas race on TV.

 Basically, no one will miss pack racing, because almost no one was watching it.

 Sure, the ratings across the board for IndyCar isn't great, but when you look at the highest attended and rated races outside of Indy, it's typically a street course. The ratings for the last Kentucky and Chicago races were so bad, Versus didn't even bother to report them.

 I hear you screaming over there mister, "IndyCar needs exciting races with .000001012 second finishes cause that's what oval racing is all about!!!!!" First, calm down. Second, that's fine once or twice, but race after race it's a little much. It's basically making every race into a Michael Bay movie. Sure, there's lots of 'splosions and sexy girls, but it's just mindless entertainment after awhile.

 When people talk about IndyCar's roots being on ovals, they're talking about flat tracks and super speedways. Not these NASCAR cookie cutter tracks. You want to return to the roots of IndyCar, you need to return to Michigan, Milwaukee, Phoenix, and Pocono. Those are the tracks that are still around that made IndyCar famous.

 Why not tap back into that fanbase that made Indy popular in the 60's, 70's, and 80's? Why not be an alternative to NASCAR? They race at so many 1.5 mile tracks the fans call them cookie cutters, but not in a fun "Yay, were going to have cookies!" way, but in a way you get excited for McDonald's, cause that's what cookie cutter tracks are, they are the McDonald's of the racing world. Maybe IndyCar should strive to be a little better than that? I'd much rather be the In-n-Out than the McDonald's anyways.


  1. "It's basically making every race into a Michael Bay movie."

    Best line of the week in the IndyCar blogosphere! The problem is, that is what many fans have been conditioned to believe the sport should be like week after week. It should include fireworks and F16 flyovers and a great "show".

    I was covering a high school football game earlier this year and the team comes out to smoke and music and fireworks...seriously! One of the coaches looked at me and said "remember when we just lined up and played the game?".

  2. Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, Chicagoland etc. do not necessarily mean pack racing. They didn't race like that until 2002-2003 or so.

    There is no reason why there couldn't be an aerodynamic package where they have to lift at Texas. So they're not all running the same speed all the time, setups and drivers matter, and there are still groups of 2-5 cars and close finishes.

    1. It's not quite that simple, especially at Texas. When you reduce the downforce you also reduce the drag. When the drag is reduced the speed will increase. The speeds at Texas cannot increase much more before they start becoming too fast for the drivers due to the G-force generated. Even with almost no downforce, the cars have a tremendous amount of mechanical grip (mechanical grip comes from a combination of shocks and tires). In fact, these cars could run 230+ at Texas with no wings. Reducing mechanical grip is another discussion, but in the end it's very expensive to do.

      But, to the bigger point, I just think pack racing is a bit of the dumbing down of racing that's been going on the last 20 years. I just want to go back to a product without gimmicks. Lets face it, IndyCar had many many more fans back then than it does today, so maybe thats saying something.