Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Green/White/Checker -- Part 2

I have been happy and amazed at the response to my original Green/White/Checker post from a couple of days ago. Thanks for reading and commenting, that's what this blog is here for.

So with that in mind, I thought I would share IndyCar operations man Brian Barnhart's comments in an excellent piece posted on More Front Wing as part of their coverage at the State of IndyCar event on Tuesday. Thankfully Barnhart agrees with a majority of the fans in saying a G/W/C rule is not an option for the series.

One stat he pointed out is that 93 percent of IndyCar races finish under green. Over the course of a 17-20 race season, on average that figures to only one or two races a year that finish under caution. That is more than an acceptable number.

More from the More Front Wing story:

"...altering the race distance begins to truly affect the integrity of the event.  Barnhart points to the finish of the 2010 Indianapolis 500 as the perfect example.  When Mike Conway crashed on lap 198, a significant clean-up ensued (which included a substantial amount of repair to the catch fencing).  Even if the caution had been relatively brief — say seven or eight laps plus another couple of laps of racing — it’s easily conceivable that adding length to the race could be equivalent to adding 25 or more miles to many events (which could be nearly half of a fuel run), a point which Barnhart says starts to encroach on the race’s integrity.

'It’s the Indy 500,' says Barnhart, 'not the Indy 515 or 520.  What if [the leader's] engine blows during those extra laps?  Well, he was leading at 500 miles and 502.5 and 505 and 507.5 but just didn’t make it to 520.  Is that fair?'”

Starts to encroach on a race's integrity. Great line, and the whole point of why a G/W/C shouldn't be in place.

I'm glad the the Power-That-Be understands that concept.

In the end, the best way to say it is that at each instance of a G/W/C finish, a driver ultimately gets screwed. Whether it is the driver that is leading at the end of the scheduled distance (as often happens in NASCAR as the driver leading at that point hasn't won the race), has a car issue during the "overtime" period or gets wrecked in the ensuing trophy dash, a driver who has rightly earned his or her spot has it taken away. And in the event of an accident (another common occurrence) that team spends a lot of money. In a series where cost containment is a point of emphasis, that cannot happen.

It's unfair and takes away from the idea of competition and sport. Fortunately it seems that will never be an issue in IndyCar.

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