The stories posted at IndyCar.com usually contain all the pleasantries about how Shaq has bigger feet than Danica, how the cars could run on a ceiling and how Stanton Barrett is a stunt driver. To sum it up, it amounts to PR.
Enter the phantom caution at TMS that took away Briscoe’s staggering lead around lap 150. Today, the IndyCar PR mouthpiece put up an article explaining how there was really debris on the track. It seems that we the fans have made our opinion quite clear on these phantom cautions, which prompted this article.
So, I enter my first real substantial gripe against the Versus coverage. If there was debris on the track, show it! If you have to track down the truck that picked up the debris and steal the offending bits from them, do it. Show us why you stopped the race.
I agree that safety is paramount, but the IndyCar series treads a perilous line when they stop action on the track and no reason is given to the fans until 3 days after the event. The phrase “competition caution” has entered our American parlance as a slight against the tin top governing body who brought the practice into the limelight. If you bring out the rubber zamboni and parade it around for 10 laps, don’t leave me assuming that the marbles are why the flag was thrown.
Another thought. Us fans aren’t up in arms over just this single incident at Texas. Recall that a similar caution was called at Milwaukee the previous week. But not only that, we are seeing small incidents that require very little cleanup turn into 6-10 laps of sweeper parade on a consistent basis. So not only are the “competition cautions” starting to enter into our IndyCar vocabulary, we also are starting to adopt these crazy long caution periods as well.
A little hint to the IndyCar series: The oval package has not given me much to cheer about this year. Don’t try to correct your mistakes with the aero by building false drama with restarts and pitstop reshuffling. There is plenty of NASCAR on television already.