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.