Indy Hump Day Report, on the bubble: Lapped cars or fuel knobs

The great compromise

In American history, the founders spent years working on proposals for what would be the civic structure of the United States.  Many ideas were kicked around, and at times the debate became very heated. Well in 1787 what would be known as “The great compromise” or “The Sherman Compromise” would be made.

It seems that in the early days, the delegation from Virginia had an idea that would benefit the larger states more than the smaller ones with membership to the lower and upper houses of the legislator. They had to work out a deal that would make all sides happy.

This is a similar road we are now traveling in the restructuring of the IZOD INDYCAR Series. My proposal while not as epic as that of Roger Sherman of Connecticut,  still may help level the field and lower the carnage.

See the series announced a proposed plan for double file restarts in 2011. However they will keep lapped cars in the mix since “… the leader has earned the right…” to use them as protection.

Personally while I get that argument with single file, I fail to see how it won’t turn restarts into NASCAR style pile ups with slower lapped cars mixed in to the restarts (On ovals). In single file restarts you have one car in front and one behind giving plenty of room to get around slower cars (and or drivers in the case of Milka).

But double file will see two in front, one on your side, and two behind for a driver. Now if in the middle of the pack up front a fast car gets a run on a lapped driver and wheel hops, that means basically double the drivers can be collected.   

As a former street driver instructor I point to the “three second rule“. It is easier to avoid a wreck if you have some room. (Why do you think NASCAR events at Daytona and Talladega look more like the local “demo derby”?)

So single file you can see in advance (albeit quickly) that there is an obstacle ahead. But what are the chances you can with two cars in front of you side by side, let alone what if you need to go high, but had to restart on the inside?

So here is my proposal for compromise, since I dislike this idea with lapped cars on ovals. If the leader wants that advantage, then they have to give up one, the fuel knob. See if you want to have your cake, don’t be so quick to eat it too! We already have given a leader an edge with the fuel knob.

So if the fuel knob stays then lapped cars must go to the back of the pack. If lapped cars will remain in the way, well then the fuel knob needs to go to the back of the parts bin. I doubt any fans will shed a tear to see those little knobs (or switches depending on how you see them) vanish.

Let’s be fair, how many advantages do we need to give Ganassi and Penske? They are the benefactors of both at once. Hell didn’t Dario win a Championship at Homestead in 2009 using the fuel knob? How many more advantages do the “Big States” of INDYCAR need?

I want to see the Connecticut of the Series (Andretti Autosport) and even the Deleware and Vermont of the series have a better chance to compete late (Dreyer & Reinbold, and FAZZT).

So that is the “Rogan Compromise” either keep the lapped cars in the mix, and toss the fuel knob. Or toss the lapped cars in the back of the pack if you must keep those knobs.

The world of open wheel racing has always been very political. (The split being the most notorious result of politics.) I see this compromise working in the best interest of all.

Sad notes:

I would first send my deepest sympathy to teammate Doug and his wife Tabatha. Tabatha lost her father recently and I am very saddened by this tragic loss. I send my best wishes to the family.

I also send my deepest sympathies to the families of the killed and wounded in Arizona. The 9 year old girl is even more saddening because she was a total bystander to the path of rage from a mad man.

Worst of all she has deep local connections here in eastern Pennsylvania, having been born in the Philly burbs on 9-11-01. She is also the granddaughter of the former World Champion manager of the Phillies, Dallas Green. The Philly sports fans all feel the loss.

And last today is January 12th, what would have been my father’s 61st birthday. And while we still keep his birthday tradition alive of Chinese food for dinner, it still feels empty. Losing him February 20th 2009  is still the worst feeling of my life.

I will never totally get over his sudden illness and death. But life must go on with out him and has. (Strangely enough my all time favorite author, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson died on February 20th 2005. I will make sure to never ride a plane that day.)

So live every day of life as if it is your last, you never know when it may just be.

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3 Thoughts to “Indy Hump Day Report, on the bubble: Lapped cars or fuel knobs

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by IRLback@Pocono , IRLback@Pocono and others. IRLback@Pocono said: RT @openpaddock: New Content: Indy Hump Day Report, on the bubble: Lapped cars or fuel knobs – […]

  2. I gives the the huge jibblies to say this, but NASCAR may have had the right idea in putting lapped cars in one row and leaders in the other. That doesn’t mean that I’m sold on this whole double-file restart business, but I like the fuel knob even less.

  3. ATB73

    I think they should stick with single file restarts. They need to keep the back markers where they are, the leader earned the advantage. Just don’t restart way back in turn 3, bring them onto the front stretch before resuming the pace. I’m sick of Dixon getting a 1/2 mile jump on the field everytime.

    Sad notes:

    My sympathy to Doug and Tabatha and to you Spike. I too have had some tough losses the past few years. My dear friend John Skinner, a WWII POW, Korea and Vietnam vet. He showed me how to live each day like its your last. Everyday is a good day. If you have your health then you have everything. And my friend Jack Rose who died way too young a year ago. One incredibly talented musician. (Youtube Jack Rose) I was lucky enough to hang with the dude from highschool thru college before he went on to bigger and better gigs. I just hate it for his Mom.

    What happened in Tuscon is terribly tragic, most especially the 9 old girl. Horrible. My heart goes out to all the victims. Congresswoman Giffords is a true miracle. I hope for her a full recovery, so she can slap in the face her constituents and the media for the apalling nature of their knee jerk, incesant, self serving, destructive, speculative bickering that ensued before the first victims even reached the hospital. The left, middle, right, CNN, FOX, MSNBC are all embarassments. Washington isn’t the answer, It is the problem. It is WE, THE PEOPLE who made this nation great, and it is WE who will save it.

    Heartfelt in Virginia

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