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NASCAR should never try what IndyCar did in Texas

By admin | June 12, 2011

By Richard Allen


In a recent column I suggested that NASCAR ought to consider reducing the length of many of its 500 mile/lap races and instituting a heat race type format to detemine starting positions. To many that may have seemed like a very radical suggestion. However, I am not willing to say NASCAR should ever go as far as the IndyCar series did this past weekend in Texas.

The IndyCar race was billed as twin 275 kilometer events that were supposed to be two completely separate events. In reality, that was not the case because if it were there would have been full points awarded for each race and teams would have had the option of using a totally new car for the second race whether they had crashed in the first or not. Neither of those things was the case.

Instead, half the usual number of points were awarded for each segment and teams who had not crashed had to stick with the same car they started the night with. There was, however, a victory lane celebration after each segment.

The most objectionable part of the whole thing was the between race activities. After the first victory lane celebration(for segment 1 winner Dario Franchitti) ended, the drivers were brought to the front stretch for an agonizingly long ceremony in which each driver participated in a blind draw to determine his/her starting position for the second stanza.

While the blind draw format offers the opportunity for fans to see some of the better cars put in the rear of the field and thus have to work their way to the front, it is irresponsible to run a race in which championship points are awarded in the end but have starting positions determined in what amounts to a luck based lottery.

In this particular case, one championship contender, Franchitti, drew a starting spot well back in the pack while another contender, Will Power, drew a starting spot near the front. In such short races as these there was hardly enough opportunity for those at the rear to catch up with those who started at the front, especially considering that the second race ultimately ran caution free. Power won segment 2 while Franchitti was only able to get up to 7th place.

NASCAR should never consider ‘mixing it up’ in quite so radical a fashion as this for any points paying race. The problem in the second race was that all-important starting spots were not earned, they were given. Even when qualifying is rained out in NASCAR there is some degree of earning involved in that the field is set by points earned throughout the season(or the previous season if the rainout occurs in the early season).

Using this type of format for an all star race of some sort is fine, but certainly not for any race that will play a part in deciding a championship.

Most Sprint Cup races should be shortened

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5 Responses to “NASCAR should never try what IndyCar did in Texas”

  1. Mark Mitchem Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 6:53 am

    The Indy car race was awesome i thought , and they did allow a few drivers to use backup cars . One driver used alex taglianiis (sp) car in the second race . Now as far as the race went . I think the first race should have had the normal point format . The second race should have been more of an all star format consisting of multiple segments . Just my 2 cents worth .

  2. Justin Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 8:59 am

    lol, so basically, if your car is junk in the first race, you make sure to crash into the wall coming out of turn 4 on your way to the checkered flag, lol. That way you still finish where you were running (give or take a few spots) and you dont have to run the piece of junk in the second race….lol

  3. Matt Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I was at the Twin 275s Saturday night, and as a fan who’s been going to the Indycar races at TMS for the past several years, I can say that it was the worst experience of all of them…

    …And it was still a great event. The “bad” part of the whole thing was the length of the break in between the races, it was as long as either race itself was. Shorten the intermission, do a standard inversion of the field, and lengthen both races to 300k and I think they’ve got a winner. The overall idea was good, just “tune it up” a bit.

  4. JT Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I was switching between the first race and a baseball game. The first race was OK, but not that competitive. However, the blind draw ceremony in between the races was so long and dull, I decided to stick with the ball game and completely missed the second race.

  5. leothedrummer Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I think it was a good move by Indycar to try something different, however I agree that the random draw wasn’t the best way to determine the starting grid.

    The traditional way to do this is by the finishing positions from the first race. The other option is giving each race its own qualifying session - however, running the two races so close together probably rules this one out.

    Two and even three race events like this are not a new thing, plenty of other categories around the globe have been using similar formats for ages. I do think NASCAR can learn from this and it would be great to see them implement something similar, perhaps in the Truck and Nationwide series first.