Unhappy Hamilton

Posted by Iannucci | 5/14/2008 | 3 comments »
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Things that Davey Hamilton doesn’t like:
• Nazis
• The price of gas
• Street mimes
• Current Indy 500 qualification format

“I’ll just be straight up - I don’t like it,” Hamilton told PA SportsTicker. “I don’t like the qualifying format at all. I personally feel like us as drivers we hang our tail out there. Qualifying is meant to hang your (tail) out. I just did that Saturday and I felt great about it but missed the top 11 by 15-100ths of a second.

“Now, I have to go do it all over again.”

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He’s got a point, because now that there are more than 34 cars fighting for 33 spots it is no longer necessary to enhance the drama by breaking the qualifications into three regimented days before Bump Day. Unfortunately he’s going about it the wrong way by complaining about having to drive fast again for another day. Fans aren’t really going to rally behind the cry of having drivers spend more time race setups.

“Hell no, we won’t go! Setups are the way to go!”...nope, not gonna happen.

Instead of making this about how annoying this is for the drivers Hamilton could echo the broader argument Oriol Servia makes by saying it diminishes the level of competition. Better yet, he could talk about how this format is discouraging drivers from even trying at all on that first day, leaving fans to see which of 15 or so drivers even attempt to crack the Top 11. Those arguments would resonate better with the public and might convince IMS and IRL officials to change the format back.

And if that doesn't work then take it up with Race Director Tony Kanaan.


  1. Fred Hurley // May 14, 2008 2:04 PM  

    One counter-argument, if I may, is that with the Top-11 system, there's a reward for having your act together by the time pole day rolls around. By making a clear cutoff, you reward those teams that busted their hump to get ready. Of course, I can understand why 15/100 of a second doesn't really mean Davey and Vision DIDN'T have their act together. I like the old way better. The only thing locked down after Pole Day is the Pole. MAYBE you could lock in the front row, since there's some prestige to that, and it also helps the track, and the League, market the front row for a couple of weeks ("Come see Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon, and Ryan Briscoe lead the field to the green in the ..."). But other than that, they should let the times stand. We'd have 20 cars in the show. I hate the Top-35 rule, and this seems like a slightly more obfuscated version of that rule. The teams ready to be fast on day 1 are generally your top teams. This just helps guarantee that no matter how much speed teams find the next week, those top teams are in the show. It may not matter right now, but imagine in a few years with a (hopefully) more open engine or car format. What if BMW shows up with some radical turbo 6, but it takes them two weeks to get the setup. This way, they can never repeat what happened in 1995, with Penske missing the show entirely. As long as they can show up on day 1 at close to full speed, they're locked in. Meh.

  2. Anonymous // May 14, 2008 3:33 PM  

    oriol & davey should just shut up.

    the vast majority of the drivers like the qualifying. And
    even Mario Andretti likes the format.

    And it is NOT new , the format has been in place for a couple of years now.

  3. pressdog // May 14, 2008 5:30 PM  

    I think the current format blows, especially in an era where a whoppin' eight cars have shots at the pole. Just seems very artificial Now that we have more than 33 cars, go back to the old system.