Monday, January 4, 2016

Musings From the Weekend: A New Year But Same State

The first Monday of 2016 features the return of Musings From the Weekend. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Not much motorsports action but it appears rain will continue to follow the motorsports world as torrential rain fell upon the Dakar Rally. We are still a few weeks away from the first major events of 2016 but here is a run down of what got me thinking.

A New Year But Same State
I have actually been thinking about this since the middle of autumn but I am only now typing it out: IndyCar does not have forward thinking people in charge.

IndyCar's problem has been it's constantly in a stationary state and instead of being progressive and seeking out how to do things differently or get more manufactures involved or get more teams involved, IndyCar draws a line in the sand and lives by it. IndyCar become rigid and while IndyCar stick to their guns, IndyCar limps on into the future instead of opening up it mind and eyes.

Jay Frye is the new man at the helm of IndyCar and to be fair he has been on the job for all of five minutes. He wasn't and no one in the world was going to walk right in and perform miracle to take the series to the pinnacle of the motorsports world in terms of race attendance and television ratings. But I just wonder, when will someone at IndyCar realize it's time to try something new and actually do it?

On Trackside back in August (go to the 1:26:45 mark) when talking about IndyCar returning to Road America and the possibility of lengthy caution periods because of the size of the track, Kevin Lee wondered about doing something different so caution periods wouldn't last 20 minutes. The answer is virtual safety car, which has been successful in sports cars and Formula One as the field slows down but a safety car is not released and the corner workers are able to take care of whatever it is (stranded car, piece of debris, etc.) and races get back underway after one lap of virtual safety car instead of five laps behind an actual safety car.

It sounds great. IndyCar should adopt it immediately. However, are the people in charge capable of making such a change? I don't think so. I don't think Brian Barnhart is smart enough to make that evolution and therein lies the problem. If he can't make a simple change to something that has been proven to be an evolutionary step for safety car/full-course caution periods then why have him in charge? Why not get someone who will be on the forefront of changes in motorsports?

IndyCar cannot become a series viewed as behind with the times although I fear it is already viewed that way by some. However, a few simple changes can change how the entire series is perceived.

Winners From the Weekend
At the Dakar Rally prologue, Bernhard ten Brinke won in the car class, Joan Barreda won in the bike class and Ignacio Casale won in the quad class. The first stage of the Dakar Rally, which was scheduled for Sunday, was cancelled due to heavy rain.

Coming Up This Weekend
More from the Dakar Rally.
AMA Supercross opens its season in Anaheim.