IndyCar – Back to the Short Schedule

Curt Cavin reported this morning in the Indianapolis Star that the Month of May would be shortened to the Two Weeks of May. The track will open on May 15th for practice and rookie tests, but qualifying will be condensed to a single weekend.

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Pole Day will be on Saturday, May 22, and Bump Day will be on Sunday, May 23. The reasoning behind the change is to reduce the operating costs for all parties associated with the event. The teams will spend less money on room and board, the Speedway will spend less money on staffing, and the TV production crew will spend less money on room and board, and operations. Cutting out the first weekend of qualifying really does trim everyone’s budget significantly, and its a logical move. We fans, however, are anything but logical. We want the full Month of May. …or at least we think we do.

Almost as soon as the schedule changes was announced, the twittersphere was alive with consternation and disgruntlement. Quite honestly, I fully expected to be amongst their numbers and declaring how the IMS leadership had lost touch with the fans (enter additional cliche rants here). However, I was surprised to find that after reading through and thinking carefully about the changes, I was quite ok with them. Granted, I make my evaluation from the very selfish point of view that now I’ll be able to see all phases of qualification, Community Day, Carb Day, the Parade, and the Race. Always before, I was unable to attend Pole Day because it would invariably fall right before Finals Week, and the only way I could call in sick then is if I produced my own death certificate. I fully understand the lamentation of those who are closer to the track and look forward to two weekends of qualification and practice at the track. I’m sure this change crimps their style just as much as the extended schedule put a crimp in mine. The unfortunate fact is that you can’t please everyone, but hopefully this move doesn’t tick too many people off, or at least it doesn’t tick them off too much. This really will save all parties involved with the 500 a ton of money, and we could see qualifying crowds larger than we’ve seen in a long, long time. Let’s hope it all turns out for the good. I for one think it will.

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3 Thoughts to “IndyCar – Back to the Short Schedule

  1. As I said in my own story on this topic, this was going to happen whether it was because of the economy, Jeff Belskus and Co., or both. Don’t forget that money gets spent every time a car hits the track, too. I would think that engine costs and the like won’t be so bad for “full” teams, and we may see a couple more one-offs that wouldn’t have jumped in if their budget had to be dragged across a whole month.

  2. “would think that engine costs and the like won’t be so bad for “full” teams, and we may see a couple more one-offs that wouldn’t have jumped in if their budget had to be dragged across a whole month.” -Chris

    Excellent point! It would be fantastic to see more one-off teams try to make an effort at the 500.

  3. Thanks for stopping by Chris. Great work on We will wait and see what kind of engine leases are available for May. The 2nd week program won’t be available as in the past, but maybe they will come up with a cheaper lease for teams that only put X miles on the engine over the course of the month.

    We will also have to take a wait and see approach to what the format will be. They supposedly will announce that next month. I expect it will be a free for all both days (no cap on amount of cars that can qualify) with 3 qual attempts per car per day.

    We have been waiting for more changes as Belskus has taken over at 16th and Georgetown and this was one that I was expecting.

    Condensing qualifying down to a weekend makes good sense for me (an out of towner) because I am more likely to come in for both days, whereas before I would only come in for pole day or bump day and not really pay attention to day 2 or day 3.

    The IRL’s press release on their website says they would consider another oval race in May, specifically mentioning Phoenix, Milwaukee and New Hampshire, if the schedule remains the same for 2011. I see no reason why this would change.

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