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Big contrast in perception of Daytona 500 and Indy 500 finishes

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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8 Responses to “Big contrast in perception of Daytona 500 and Indy 500 finishes”

  1. Sue Rarick Says:
    May 28th, 2012 at 6:48 am

    I totally agree Rich. Right now my perseption of Nascar is they are spinning their collective wheels and just rehearsing for the ‘CHASE’.

    I spent a good portion of my life at rehearsals. They are BORING….

  2. Russ Says:
    May 28th, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Sato has always been an aggressive driver, some of his passes in F1 were highlight film material.

    But to your point, I think that you are right. While the aero rules do have some effect, it also is because “teammates” means something differant in Nascar than it does in other sports.

    As predicted, Randy Bernard will revive Indycar, as for Nascar?

  3. Tyler West Says:
    May 28th, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Rich i agree. Nascar has everyone more concerned with chasing points than wins. Winning races is what a driver should be concerned with. I hate it when you have drivers with a few championships and not very many wins. They have skewed the perception of a real winner. The Chase is total crap! Win at all costs, The Indy 500 was amazing!

  4. John Cooke Says:
    May 28th, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Note to Brian France; FORGET THE CHASE,JUST RACE!!

  5. Offkilter Says:
    May 28th, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Learn something every day, Richard. I didn’t know there was a no-block rule in indy car. Too bad those guys don’t have fenders… I tuned in for the last 20 laps or so and was impressed even before the sato wreck. Normally, indy car racing is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

    And you are on the money when you say perception is everything. Nobody really knows if the biff was sandbagging in daytona, but he came out looking really bad on that deal.

  6. Tony Geinzer Says:
    May 28th, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I really wish that for Future Coke 600s, stop the race at Lap 200 and call it a Halftime Break like the Trucks did in the 90s.

  7. GinaV Says:
    May 28th, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    As I tweeted to you during the race, NASCAR has become racing for insomniacs. Have trouble sleeping? Tune into a NASCAR race, you’ll nod off in no time.

    Watched the entire Indy 500 and it was an interesting, well covered race broadcast. It appears that they’ve fixed the high speed parade for Indy car, someone needs to do the same for NASCAR.

    Stroking for points because of the stupid chase has resulted in no real reason to watch most races. Since most of the action, if there is any, will be during the last 20 laps, there isn’t much reason to spend an entire day or evening tuned into the race.

    Fox’s decision to show one car at a time during the race has also impacted that. I use twitter and trackpass to follow the races these days and skip most of the broadcast on TV.

    I’ll make sure I state this, no, I’m not in it for the wrecks, but if NASCAR wants to make me buy tickets for races for next year, they need to do something to produce some actual racing on the track. I’m not wasting an entire weekend traveling and my hard earned money to watch cars driving around in circles.

  8. Robby Says:
    May 28th, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Since IndyCar has a new car and engine package and they reunited a couple years ago, I think IndyCar is on it’s way back up.

    They weeded out many of the lesser talented drivers and ride buyers(Danica, Sheckter, Duno, Moraes, Mutoh to name a few)

    People think losing Danica was a blow to the sport but Andretti replaced her with someone who is mega talented and has probably the best personality of ANYONE in racing, in James Hinchcliffe.(Seriously, go watch his youtube videos…dude is one of the funniest guys around)

    But IndyCar has it right now…Right engines, right car design, reasonable race length and their broadcast team is really good as opposed to the morons in the FOX booth who only cheer for Hendrick and assume their viewers are complete idiots.