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My Thoughts on IndyCar Following New Hampshire

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Update, 25 August 2011:
Newman Haas and Ganassi both protested the results of this race and the protest was heard Wednesday (23 August 2011) with the results announced yesterday (24 August 2011).  To no one’s surprise, the original results were upheld.  At the end of the day, it was probably the best, although in my opinion, the wrong decision; very rarely in sports do you see any sanctioning body or league change the result of a race, game, or match.  This does not change my opinion that IndyCar Race Control needs a major overhaul including the replacement of personnel.  The credibility as well as the very future of the series is at stake.  As I’ve said previously, I’m giving IndyCar 2012; if there aren’t changes for the better by 2013 I’ll be gone.

I’m not even going to attempt to detail, explain, or analyze what happened in last weekend’s IndyCar race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  It has been done far better than I could do by several authors already. I strongly suggest reading the following to understand what happened and what the ramifications of the farce at New Hampshire could be.

IndyCar: Loudon Rewind by Marshall Pruett at Speed.com

What We Learned: “Baghdad Brian” Thinks We’re All Pretty Stupid by Tony Johns at SB Pop Off Valve

Reading Between the Lines by Steph Wallcraft at MoreFrontWing.com

IndyCar has placed itself at a critical juncture in regards to credibility.  Officiating under Brian Barnhart, the IndyCar Chief Steward has always been a bit dodgy, but poor officiating has come to the forefront this year. After Toronto and New Hampshire in particular, poor officiating was a bigger topic of discussion than the races themselves.  At New Hampshire, a terrible and unsafe call to restart an oval race in rain conditions caused a crash that threw the race into confusion and was then compounded by a misguided attempt to undo the restart.  First IndyCar race control put the drivers at risk then robbed the rightful winner of the race.

To any objective observer, this would call the credibility of the series into question.  If I were a team or sponsor looking to move into IndyCar I would have to seriously reconsider my options based on the credibility of the series.  Would I really want to make the attempt or spend my money in a series where the officiating is an unknown quantity?  Right now my answer would be no, no question about it.  The only way I see to preserve the credibility of IndyCar is to immediately dismiss Brian Barnhart, Al Unser Jr. and Tony Cotman and start from a clean slate.  The future of IndyCar could very well depend on it.

Between the poor officiating, the decision to continue with spec cars (minus spec engines) in 2012, and the ridiculous “blocking” (no defending in my opinion) rule IndyCar has in place, I am seriously questioning my loyalty to the series and whether or not I want to continue as a fan.  I’m giving IndyCar 2012. If things don’t improve for 2013 there is a high likelihood I’ll be gone.


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