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DATE News (chronologically)
05/15/14
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IndyCar News & Notes with Brian C.
Brian C. and Keith Ori will go head-to-head in previewing the Indy 500 in the coming days.
We’ve received some positive feedback on our relatively new AR1 Head-to-Head series. You can find the latest installment, a quarterly review of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series featuring Keith Ori and yours’ truly on the AR1 home page now. In the next day or so, look for another AR1 Head-to-Head, previewing the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500.

In the meantime, I will briefly hit on a couple points from the world of IndyCar.

Ford

Kudos to Steph Wallcraft of More Front Wing, who caught up with Ford Motor Company board of directors’ member Edsel Ford II earlier this week and asked him about the auto giant’s prospects for entering IndyCar. For Steph's story click here, but Ford basically reiterated—albeit in more emphatic tones—what members of the auto giant have said for years: they have no interest in IndyCar.

Not surprisingly, some found Ford’s direct tone somewhat off-putting. While I agree the great-grandson of Henry Ford could have made his point absent the melodramatic “six feet under” stuff, I found his transparency rather refreshing. There was no B.S. corporate run-around, no wishy-washy attempts to placate or appease anyone. Ford gave it to us straight: the Blue Oval has no interest in IndyCar. And the reason there is no interest, is because the series doesn’t provide adequate return on investment. Period.

Now, like many others, I would love to see the Blue Oval back in IndyCar. I likewise suppose, Edsel Ford II's tone probably could have been more tactful.

But considering 0.1 TV ratings and the well-documented burden Honda and Chevy are known to be carrying, any criticism of the company simply doesn't square with reality.

Not to be a grump but…

I truly despise rewarding double points for the Triple Crown races, and the excessive number of points awarded for Indianapolis 500 qualifying. While I’ve heard for decades that the Indy 500 stands on its own merits and doesn’t need gimmicks, I could maybe get on board with the longer races being worth fractionally more points. I could also see a few point bonus type points being awarded for Indy 500 qualifying. However, as currently structured the new allocation of points greatly undermines the other events the series runs. And if you don’t believe me, consider this.

Say a driver qualifies 14th for the Indy 500 this weekend, then finishes the race in the same spot. That driver will earn more points than Will Power, Mike Conway, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Simon Pagenaud did earlier this season actually winning races.

Here’s another illustration.

Last year, E.J. Viso finished the race 18th, qualified 8th in the first qualifying segment, then fourth in the Fast Nine Shootout. Nothing against Viso, I am simply using him as an example. Because under this year’s format Viso would have netted a total of 56 points, or stated another way: six more points than winning at Long Beach or Barber.

Granted, I know IndyCar and IMS want something to be at stake for qualifying on ABC this weekend. However, arbitrarily awarding a grossly disproportionate number of points does not serve that end. It merely undercuts other events the series needs to be building up. 

Brian Carroccio is a columnist for AutoRacing1. He can be contacted at BrianC@AutoRacing1.com.

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