INDYCAR – Probation Continues Lack of Credability Trend

Photo taken by Michael Levitt - INDYCAR

Well it looks as the INDYCAR series has answered whether contact is good for the sport or not. Yesterday the governing body handed out some probation rulings against Mike Conway, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Alex Tagliani for avoidable contact issues. The rulings mostly cite the Canadian leg of the championship but in Hunter-Reay’s case, it goes all the way back to Barber. I was baffled yet again to see the fans of the series try and make sense of the calls. It is impossible to make sense of something that never makes sense to begin with.

Early on during the season there were next to no calls for on track behavior. Enter Canada and specifically the Toronto race. There was so much carbon fiber thrown around I’m sure the city is still cleaning it up. That was a turning point for race control. After coming under heavy fire for not doing their jobs, race control was swift to act during the Edmonton race. These penalties are simply race control trying to come across as creditable and assert themselves further. The problem is they have acted too late and made themselves even less creditable.

I said during Edmonton that the same customers kept coming back and causing issues. I definitely think both Tags and Conway should be reprimanded for their driving style as of late. I was also not very happy at all with Hunter-Reay after he took Sato out of contention for the win but he is typically clean and professional. That being said, there are far worse offenders than RHR this year. The popular choice amongst the fans was E.J. Viso and rightfully so. I don’t think any driver has been involved in more contact situations than the KV driver. So why didn’t INDYCAR add him to the list? Well your guess is as good as mine to be honest.

At the end of the day, it would have been best for INDYCAR to just sit on this ruling as they have for most of the year. By imposing these probation periods, they have brought up the issue yet again when it was mostly behind us. The start of the 2012 season would have been a good time to begin issuing probation status to folks as it is a fresh season and demonstrates that you WILL punish those who decide to use other cars as moving brakes. You set the precedent early at that point. By bringing it up towards the end of the season and citing races from the start of the season, you just look silly and take away that all important credibility factor.

3 comments

  • Best article on the subject I’ve seen yet.

  • Double wide restarts on road/street course = Horrible idea. These are not stock cars. Rules regulating leaving the door open for passes in tight corners = Freaking ridiculous. Defending corners is part of road racing. I can see if they want to still prevent blocking and double moves etc. but these rules are counter productive. Shix even i could make a pass on Will Power going into 3 just by late breaking and spinning him. It is the responsibility of the over taking driver to pass safely. These penalties need to be handed down during the race from the stewards. If I was a steward theses unsafe passers would be penalized immediately on the track, and after the race Indycar may further review the incidents and notify them of any probation. Indycar should be ashamed of themselves for creating this environment.

  • Jeremy, I agree with you on IndyCar’s leave-the-inside-lane-open fauxvertaking rule. It’s pretty easy to see what is causing all of these wrecks. These drivers have been trained to take a defensive line from karting on up through all of the feeders. Now for the last year and a half, IndyCar has changed the game and has forced the leader to leave the door open for someone to come underneath. This has made a very bad situation for the car in front because any contact is going to result in the lead car getting pushed wide or altogether getting wrecked while the overtaking car on the inside lane takes the spot. It doesn’t matter if the following car is trying to make an ill advised pass or not, the lead car either has to make way for the inside car or risk contact.

    We recorded our podcast last night, so Shaun should have it up later today. We had a long discussion about the penalties and pretty much trashed IndyCar for this long unfortunate string of swallowing the whistle, and then suddenly finding it again.

    I personally like the double wide restarts. I think those work fine as long as IndyCar starts giving drive thru’s to people for screwing around with them like the Ganassi trio did at Edmonton. The problem is this stupid fauxvertaking rule which takes an already condensed field (from the double wide restarts) and forces them to obey this ridiculous new idea of taking the outside line so your competition can punt you off the track.

    Regardless of what rule they are using though, the IndyCar drivers are looking like amateurs right now. I have better things to do than watch the crap we had at Toronto.