IRL could easily adopt Green-White-Checkered rule

UPDATE #2 Another easy way to do it – Yellow comes out in the final 5 or 10 laps? Everyone pits in their pit box and shuts down. Fuel can be added if so desired. (Those on a strategy run: tough luck. Makes for shitty racing anyway)

Teams then push cars forward, in pitlane, into race order. Lapped cars to the back – no point in having them in the way.

When the track is ready, start cars, do 2 pace laps and then back to green for the final however many laps. Mark C.

06/14/08 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, Two races in succession have ended under yellow because of the same driver making high risk moves that are against the rules. Before everyone concludes new rules and procedures have to be implemented how about trying to enforce the rules that are already in place and see if that fixes the problem.

Race officials emphasize before every race ‘pick a lane and stay in it or else’. Well, the ‘or else’ never happens. Take the last race at Texas, where Hunter-Reay had the low line down the backstretch and going into the corner where the wreck occurred. Andretti was obligated by the rules to ‘hold his line’ which was the high line. Instead he is moving over on Hunter-Reay down the backstretch and then when it became obvious Hunter-Reay had the speed to pass him in the corner Andretti pushed RHR down on the apron. Andretti’s car is 50% in the established low line, way out of the high line he was obligated to stay in by the rules and the Race Directors instructions before the race. Let Barnhart review it and if he determines there were violations of the rules or his pre-race race instructions issue a severe penalty.

Teams and drivers know they will be given at least a warning or two before nothing is done so they instruct and encourage their drivers to block, chop and do what they can to impede the progress of the car attempting to pass. In the last ten percent of the race it gets worse as everyone knows there is not enough time to issue a warning and comply so they drive dirty with impunity.

It used to be that if a driver brought out a yellow during practice they were penalized 10 minutes of track time. It happens during a race and no penalty? Certainly, the IRL can enforce the existing rules more stringently in the last 10% of the race to encourage compliance.

Force the drivers to race clean. NO Warnings. Cotman implemented precisely that policy in Champ Car and within two races everyone was magically cured of chopping and blocking because Cotman reviewed a replay then immediately issued a penalty on the fly making such tactics worthless and word spread throughout the paddock like wildfire ‘Race Control acts immediately’. Then a driver knew his best chance was to let the driver pass and attempt to re-pass. Just what fans want to see and drastically reduced wrecks.

Enforcing the ‘no move’ rule made the ‘racing’ a lot better for the spectators at the track, the viewers at home, and deliver a more deserving result instead of ‘I’m Marco Andretti if you try and pass me I will run you off the circuit’ mentality resulting in lots of crashes and everyone else suffering the consequences.

Race control should review every incident that occurs within the last ten percent of the race and if a driver is found to have violated the rules a heavy fine ($25,000.00 like Franchitti got for his post race shunt) and a 25 place grid penalty for the next race.

Bet you incidents in the last 10% of the race become rare within two races. D.B. Cooper, Vail, Colorado

06/13/08 After two straight weeks of races ending under yellow, don't expect the IndyCar Series to institute a green-white-checkered finish anytime soon, even though it would be simple if they could see the forest through the trees.

Though series officials acknowledge that they would love to have their events finish under green, adopting the NASCAR model just isn't feasible at the moment for a myriad reasons they say – excuses we say. This isn't rocket science guys, this is just common sense easy – read on……

1st Excuse – halting the race under a red-flag condition and then trying to restart the race would be chaotic. Unlike stock cars, Indy cars do not have automatic starters or ignition switches. They are started manually through the back of the cars.

2nd Excuse – Another reason is fuel strategy plays a role a lot more often. Teams could be allowed to come in for a quick splash of fuel, but they would lose their track position and not have enough time to make it up in two laps. Plus, then the race is in the hands of pit crews and not the drivers.

We fell out of our chair laughing when we heard this.

Easy solution – In the event a caution comes out preventing the race from finishing under green (say within the last 10 laps) the pace car would immediately pick up the field and laps would cease to be counted. Then the pits would be opened and anyone who wanted to pit for tires and fuel can, but when all the cars are back on the track they would line back up in the same order they were when the yellow flew, regardless of the order off of pit road. Essentially the race would resume in the same order as they were running when the yellow waved……just the way NASCAR does it. They would then get the green, then white and then checkered flag and race fans would go home seeing a race to the finish.

Another solution could be what CART/Champ Car used during the Chris Pook era – they would bring the cars into pit lane, stop and wait for the incident to be cleaned up. The cars would be restarted, go back on track, and finish the race. This is just another option and reduces the risk of cars running out of fuel as there wasn’t a need for “extra" non-counted laps. I think Champ Car stopped this practice when they reduced their TV time from 2+ hours to just 2 hours and then finally making all the races timed events.

There you have it – excuses solved. Now let's see how long it takes for them to procrastinate over this before implementing it. Mark C.

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