Rusted Development

Posted by Iannucci | 4/12/2006 | 0 comments »
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First off, I’d like to thank Rusty Wallace for showing some interest in Indy Racing. He may be contractually obligated to put together an occasional opinion piece for publication, but at least he’s sharing his thoughts on what he has seen so far.

That said, Old No. 2 isn’t really contributing a lot in terms of substance. Since I already mentioned my opinion of him as a TV commentator, I‘ll stick with his recent turn as a web commentator. Here are old No. 2’s suggestions:

I said this last week, but Sunday morning practices need to go away. The practice session two weeks ago at Homestead had nothing to do with Paul Dana's death. His accident could have happened on a Saturday just as easily. I just don't see any reason at all for it because it jeopardizes the starting lineup of the race. These cars are qualified and ready to go, then they go out there Sunday morning and you have three or four incidents like we had in St. Petersburg.

I know you’ve only seen two IRL races – ever – so I’ll help you out by letting you know that “three of four incidents” in morning practice are rare. These things are voluntary, and if the teams thought they were sending the cars into certain destruction they would no longer particiapate.

Tim Cindric, the race strategist for Helio Castroneves, came up to me and wanted to know what I have seen from the IRL, having come over from NASCAR. One of the first things that I said was that there wasn't a need for Sunday morning practice sessions. He said he would rather do away with the practice, and Roger Penske and Chip Gannasi (sic) said the same thing. It seems like a majority of the people think they don't need it because the drivers all have the same engines.

Oh, well if Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi said it, it must be a majority. After all, just because they have the Top 4 drivers thusfar doesn’t mean they wouldn’t want other teams taking advantage of using Sunday practice to try to close the gap.

What I also noticed, was the IRL doesn't make it mandatory for spotters, like NASCAR does, at road courses. Teams should have spotters down in those blind corners so this problem that Franchitti had could have been avoided.

I almost agree with Old No. 2 that it would be a good idea, but the “mandatory” part bothers me. Who is going to pay for all these spotters at every turn? If the teams want them and can afford them, they’ll put the spotters out there.

Still, what happened in practice shouldn't overshadow what was a great race. Drivers were passing each other left and right, rough-housing each other, hitting each other in the rear end, knocking each other sideways. It was a real physical and tough race.

I’m really confused. If “rough-housing each other, hitting each other in the rear end, knocking each other sideways” is your idea of a “great race” then you are watching the wrong type of racing. I’m guessing Old No. 2 would prefer watching demolition derby at the local fairgrounds to IRL racing. Somebody needs to send him the memo that unlike NASCAR racing, IndyCars have a bad habit of breaking apart when they run into each other. The drivers don’t like it. They get hurt. Sometimes very badly.

Castroneves is really prepared and so is his teammate, Sam Hornish, Jr. They came from a program last year where the Toyota was a great engine, but it wasn't making as much horsepower as Honda. Target Ganassi Racing and Penske Racing, because of the horsepower deficit, really worked hard in all these other arenas to pick the speed back up.

Penske, Penske, Penske…since Old No. 2 isn’t interested in full disclosure, allow me to point out that Roger Penske was his employer in his last 14 years of Nextel Cup racing.

As a driver, I never did liked Green-White-Checkered finishes because everybody is driving beyond their capabilities to try and get to the front. As a fan, I love it. Let's face it, we're doing this for the fans, but there always seems like there is a crash or something haywired when we have green-white-checkered racing. I especially hated it at a Daytona or Talladega because you always had crashes. I wish NASCAR and IRL were the same so we could build some continuity. In simple terms, drivers don't like it, and fans love it.

In an attempt to demonstrate his grasp of critical thinking, Old No. 2 has rambled in 5 sentences to the point I don’t know what his suggestion would be. So, which is it? You can be considered both a fan and a driver – what’s your vote? Get off the fence, man.

BTW - “Haywired” is not a verb. Are there not enough verbs in the English language available to this guy? Maybe Marty Reid or Scott Goodyear could loan him a few for the season.