By admin | May 27, 2012
By Richard Allen
The two biggest American auto races each year are unquestionably NASCAR’s Daytona 500 and IndyCar’s Indianapolis 500. In 2012, the finishes of those two races could not be perceived any more differently than they have been.
Back in February many fans and other observers believed, whether true or not, that Greg Biffle did not offer a serious challenge toward his Roush Fenway Racing teammate and eventual winner Matt Kenseth on the last lap. Biffle ultimately finished 3rd in that race after being passed at the finish line by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
For days afterward, Biffle was forced to defend himself on Twitter and various television and radio shows against the claims that he did not try to win but was instead content to allow his teammate and friend cruise to victory. And that finish has not been forgotten by many.
On Sunday afternoon when Takuma Sato made a bold move which led to an eventual crash going into turn one at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in an attempt to win the Indy 500, there were reminders of the Daytona finish posted on the social networking sites. Just after the Indy finish, Julian Roberts (@Kid_Roberts) tweeted “Hey, Greg Biffle, that’s going for it.”
Sato had gone under the white flag trailing just behind then two time Indy winner Dario Franchitti but drafted up behind the leader as the cars entered turn one of the famed track. Franchitti left Sato little room as they raced through the tight corner in what appeared to be a case of two drivers desperately trying to win the biggest race on their schedules. The end result was a crash by Sato and a third win for Franchitti.
While there may be some who will question whether there was a violation of the blocking rules in IndyCar racing by Franchitti or whether Sato made his move at the right time, there will be no questions as to whether or not the 2nd place driver did all he could to win.
The comparison is actually one of apples to oranges. The aerodynamic rules of the IndyCar Series allows for drafting and pulling up on the car in front while the aero package in NASCAR does not really allow one car to gain on another so easily. However, perception is everything and the perception of many is that Greg Biffle did not try to win the Daytona 500 and Takuma Sato did try to win the Indianapolis 500.
Again, perception is everything and IndyCar won a major perception victory on Memorial Day weekend.
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