Archive for the IndyCar Category

There is Still Some Good News Out There

Posted in IndyCar on April 1, 2020 by Oilpressure

Just when you thought there was no good news to be found, we learned this little nugget – the NTT IndyCar Series will not be awarding double-points at the season-finale this year. Sine 2015, the series has awarded double-points for the Indianapolis 500 and the season-finale.

When the schedule was announced last September, Laguna Seca was scheduled to be the season-finale for the second season in a row. When the latter part of the schedule was shifted around last week for the re-scheduling of the Indianapolis 500, it was also announced as almost an afterthought that the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg would run after all. It would be rescheduled at a later date after the race at Laguna Seca, and instead of it serving as the traditional season-opener; it would close out the abbreviated 2020 season. What leaves some skeptical is that while it appears at the end of the schedule – its date is listed as TBD.

It really matters not where the season-finale takes place. At this point, I just hope there’s a season to finish. But wherever the season finishes up, there will be no double-points offered this season.

Most longtime readers know my stance on double-points. I don’t like them. I don’t like them for the Indianapolis 500 and I sure don’t like them for the season-finale. Most don’t agree with my reasoning on awarding double-points for the Indianapolis 500. They see it as a special race that should be given special treatment for winning it. I get that.

My reasons against it are rooted in the CART point system, which I always thought was the best overall points system of any racing series. In the old days of USAC, points were awarded on the basis of the length of the race. So a 500-mile race obviously paid a lot more than a 200-mile race. CART treated every race equally. It didn’t matter if you won the Indianapolis 500 or Belle Isle – you earned the same amount of points.

In those days, Formula One awarded points for only the Top-Six in each race. You could finish in the Top-Ten in every single race, but if you never placed higher than seventh – you didn’t score a single point for the season. That was just a little too restrictive. Today’s IndyCar point system awards points just for showing up. In my opinion, that’s a little too generous. The CART point system awarded points to the Top-Twelve finishers. That’s about right. If you finished thirteenth or worse in a race, do you really deserve points?

For a few years, the Indianapolis 500 didn’t even count toward the CART points battle. I believe 1984 was the first year that results in the USAC-sanctioned Indianapolis 500 counted toward the CART championship. But given the animosity between CART and USAC, CART was certainly not going to award more points for a USAC race than one of their own races.

I always liked that fact. I always felt like a series was going down a slippery slope when it publicly acknowledged that one race on a schedule was deemed more important than other races. I thought it helped promote the series to smaller tracks, such as Iowa or Barber, that theirs paid as many points as winning the Indianapolis 500. That went away in 2015, when they started doubling the points for drinking milk in May.

While most fans didn’t agree with my point of view on double-points for the Indianapolis 500, most were in agreement that it was wrong to pay double-points for the season-finale. I found it insulting that a boring race like Sonoma would pay double-points, simply because of its place on the schedule.

The only real reason this rule was put in place was because IndyCar CEO was fearful of the off-chance that the champion might be crowned before the series made it to the season-finale. The last time this happened was in 2004, when Tony Kanaan clinched the championship at Fontana, one race before the season-final at Texas. Is that really the worst thing that can happen?

It’s not like the NFL, when a team has a playoff berth clinched and they rest their starters for the last regular season game. Racers race, no matter where they are in the standings. Although Kanaan had already clinched the season championship and had nothing to race for, where do you think he finished that day? He finished second and the entire field put on a heck of a show.

There is just something about awarding double-points for the season-finale that feels slimy. There are kinder words than that, if you think that’s too harsh. Words like contrived, manufactured, artificial, fake and phony also come to mind and certainly apply.

When the 2020 schedule was announced, Roger Penske was not yet even entertaining buying the series from the Hulman-George family. Mark Miles was still completely in charge and he saw no reason to get rid of double-points for either race. On Monday, we were told that due to the abbreviated 2020 schedule, they would not be awarded at the season-finale this year. My guess is that Roger Penske never cared for the double-points to be awarded in the season – especially since they cost his driver, Juan Montoya, the championship in 2015.

So the coronavirus is being blamed for doing away with the season-ending double-points for this season. I’ll predict that they are now gone for good and will never return for any season-finale. They are unneeded. My guess is also that Roger Penske is in favor of double-points for the crown jewel of his series – the Indianapolis 500 and they will stay. I have no problem with that. If you are going to add more points for any race, that’s the one to do it with.

George Phillips

Penske Woes Prove No One is Immune

Posted in IndyCar on March 30, 2020 by Oilpressure

Again, I’m breaking my self-imposed vow not to write about COVID-19; but I am keeping true to my word that it will only be about how it affects the NTT IndyCar Series and/or the Indianapolis 500…at least, to some extent.

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The Uncertainty Ends For Now

Posted in IndyCar on March 27, 2020 by Oilpressure

We all knew it was coming, but when it happened it was a very empty feeling. The 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 has finally been postponed from its originally scheduled date of May 24, to Sunday August 23. Once the Olympics were cancelled, the dominoes started falling.

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A Collection of Misinformation

Posted in IndyCar on March 25, 2020 by Oilpressure

I belong to several IndyCar and Indianapolis 500-related Facebook groups. Most fans there are so hard-core to the point that I feel intimidated on there. I have always considered myself fairly knowledgeable about Indianapolis 500s of past years, but I sometimes wonder how Donald Davidson would stack up to these guys.

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A Needed Diversion to Yesteryear

Posted in IndyCar on March 23, 2020 by Oilpressure

As the entire world is in something of a holding pattern, there is no racing news to speak of. Even in the offseason, there is always some silly season speculation to write about, but right now there is nothing. I could use this crisis as an excuse to take an extended break from this site, but I’m not going to do that. This site may not have the largest following out there, but I think I have the most loyal readership. Many of you have been here since the beginning almost eleven years ago. Because of that, I feel a loyalty to my readers to provide an escape, if only for the few minutes it takes to read one of my rambling posts.

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Falling Behind the Times

Posted in IndyCar on March 20, 2020 by Oilpressure

With no racing or any sports to speak of going on right now, many motorsports fans and drivers have jumped onto the eSports bandwagon. Those of us over sixty used to refer to these as video games. Somewhere along the line, the term evolved into eSports – I guess to make it sound more athletic.

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A Silver Lining in a Dark Cloud

Posted in IndyCar on March 18, 2020 by Oilpressure

Although it may look like I’ve already broken my vow to not write anymore about the novel coronavirus, remember I did leave myself some wiggle room by allowing myself to write on the effects it has had on the NTT IndyCar Series or motorsports in general.

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