Pucky the Whale

Racing Of The United States Variety

1,008 posts in this topic

I'll admit it.

I watch NASCAR.

If you don't tell yourself it's legitimate professional racing, then you can just watch it as entertainment (it's like watching Top Gear and saying it's not completely scripted and the same old same old over and over again and it's fun for a laugh).

I really enjoyed the last race of Sprint Cup; so few safety cars and a great run to the finish. Clever, clever stuff by Jimmie Johnson...as clever as you can be in a 3,800-lb beached version of Pucky the Whale with wheels...he knew Kevin Harvick couldn't run on the inside line, so he gave him just enough room on the high side to tempt Harvick into trying a pass for the lead with two laps left and Harvick scraped the barriers. Brilliant move by JJ; he's a four-time champ for good reason.

In Nationwide, it was a struggle for Danica, but don't judge just yet. Will she ever be good? Doubt it, but Fontana is such a hard track to learn. Montoya, Franchitti...they all sucked in their first start at that track, too. Give her some time before you write her off. She has a lot of work to do, but they all did. JPM absolutely sucked when he came over...so did Speed and Allmendinger. Speed's having a great start to the season, Allmendinger's become legitimate, and JPM could make a title run this year. I think that, after two seasons of part-time in Nationwide, as she is doing, she can be a solid competitor in the series. Sprint Cup? She'll never make it.

Speaking of Nationwide, seen the new COTs? If you're going to do stock cars, do them right...over the top! Check out the Challenger: http://jayski.com/schemes/2010/nationwide/dodge.htm As a muscle car hater, I do love that car. A stock car should look like that, or this (Grand-Am car): http://motorsport.com/photos/grandam/2010/24h/grandam-2010-24h-cg-0131.jpg

Old news, but...so glad Jamie McMurray won at Dayton B. What a likeable guy. Nice guys do finish first and it's damn good to see that!

Okay, so NASCAR doesn't do it for you?

Fine. There's always IndyCar.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kvracingtechnology/4385924264/

Look at that. John Player Special. Why? Lotus are entering the Indy 500 with James Rossiter this year. The ultimate plan? Supply chassis to IndyCar by 2012-ish.

Not an IRL fan? ALMS tested in Sebring. If you go to americanlemans.com, you'll see the results for all four sessions. Small turn out, but should be a good season.

No ALMS? Well, SCCA World Challenge, the US' touring car championship, will be on US TV on VERSUS this year. I plan to try one of the races out.

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As much as I like to knock it tongue-in-cheek, I have to admit, some of the racing I've seen in America before ahs been very good, sometimes better than anything us Europeans have to offer. I guess any other racing series could only dream of getting as much interest and publicity as NASCAR does in America. But, being a European and having only watched series based in Europe until recently, I guess the next bit is somewhat inevitable. Whilst I can watch one or two oval races and enjoy the often closeness at the end, I still would much rather prefer to watch cars go around a non-oval track, such as Silverstone, Spa, Monza, etc.

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As much as I like to knock it tongue-in-cheek, I have to admit, some of the racing I've seen in America before ahs been very good, sometimes better than anything us Europeans have to offer. I guess any other racing series could only dream of getting as much interest and publicity as NASCAR does in America. But, being a European and having only watched series based in Europe until recently, I guess the next bit is somewhat inevitable. Whilst I can watch one or two oval races and enjoy the often closeness at the end, I still would much rather prefer to watch cars go around a non-oval track, such as Silverstone, Spa, Monza, etc.

In the Americas, though, Interlagos, Road America, Mont-Tremblant, Road Atlanta, etc are right up there with Europe's finest. There are good tracks and bad tracks in every nation and in every series.

So, some stuff on U.S. racing:

1. I forgot to care that the IndyCar season started.

2. I'm sick of the comparisons of Simona to Danica. Why don't we just compare all drivers to every driver and not just the women to the women? They're in the same series for a reason.

3. I'm sick of the racism in NASCAR. Víctor Gónzalez, Jr. and Nelson Piquet, Jr. (see? they're perfect for NASCAR because they're both Junior) have both been judged prior to their debut races and criticized for replacing good ol' boys. Hate to say it, but Piquet came in to his first (and only) NASCAR Truck race and got a top ten. Gónzalez? He's actually a nice guy from what I hear and has a higher average finish in the car than the guy he replaced (admittedly, both have pretty low average finishes). I've found myself supporting both because I want them to prove the inbreds wrong.

4. ALMS needs more cars. I'm tempted to say World Le Mans needs to happen. I was originally against it as we'd lose a lot of the U.S. prototype teams, but...there really aren't any left to lose.

5. I like a lot of the new IndyCar designs, but I wonder if there's a place for formula car racing in the U.S. I'm going to say "no." American open wheel should be Supermodifieds:

http://image24.websh...09rVFciL_ph.jpg

http://image09.websh...72pymIKV_ph.jpg

850 horsepower for something like 1300 lbs. They can't race on tracks over 1 mile because they'd go too fast. Every car looks different and they're just massively impressive. An all-oval series with cars like those would lack international appeal, but I doubt it would lack money like IndyCar does. Supermodifieds are everything an all-American racing car should be.

6. Shane Hmiel is aiming for IndyCar...my thoughts here.

7. Kyle Busch has to drive a formula car before he's too old. Just test one. Please. Watch the orange car work its way around to win after being black-flagged and sent to the back of the field late in the race (first 1:35 or so in the video).

http://www.nascar.co...nallaps.nascar/

Not impressed? Consider Phoenix is a tight, 1 mile oval with no banking and a strange kink on the back stretch. It's a braking and shifting kind of oval and passing is difficult, especially on the outside. It wasn't designed for overtaking unlike many others. Would it be realistic to say Busch could go to F1 and do well? About as realistic as it was for Montoya or Speed to go right to NASCAR where they both failed initially (one's still failing, but Montoya's gotten it together after three years). Do I think Busch should go to the RoC for the U.S.? Yes. And do I think Busch would turn a lot of heads in a junior formula car? Yes. He's probably the most naturally gifted racer in the United States right now. He just needs to learn how to not let his emotions cause him to screw up so much.

8. My favorite team in U.S. Racing? Extenze Male Enhancement Racing Team with Kevin Conway.

EX-01007_M_TN-213x183.jpgEX-01005_M_TN-213x183.jpgEX-01004_M_TN-213x183.jpgEX-01024_TN-213x183.jpg

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IndyCar announced an "all-inclusive" engine formula for 2012 and beyond. By all-inclusive they mean anything from 1 to 6 cylinders, V or inline, maximum 2.4L. These rules would enable the Global Racing Engine to be utilized and are intended to open the world of Indy-style racing to the marine and aerospace industries in addition to the automotive one. Details on fuel source are still to be determined. All engines will be turbocharged. They released 500-700 as the horsepower amount; most likely, a value around 500 will be used on ovals, and a value around 700 will be used on road courses. These regulations make the utilization of the Delta Wing chassis highly improbable, as the Delta Wing required just 300 hp to turn 230 mph laps at Indianapolis and competitive times at Long Beach. A 500 or 700 hp Delta Wing would, then, be ridiculously unsafe, and would not be consistent with any other vehicles.

It's the right idea, of course, but no engine supplier has any interest in the sport beyond Honda. They could, of course, have innovation in the sport and particularly at Indianapolis again, but the struggle to obtain fans really makes it hard to foresee many changes for years to come. Multiple chassis and engines in 2012 would, of course, help the sport greatly in terms of competition, and increased competition would lead to more fans, which would lead to more sponsors, which would lead to more competition and more "big name" drivers (an aspect of the sport the U.S. American general public is heavily concerned with), which would continue to lead to more fans and so on and so forth.

Less-funded teams could also stay afloat and competitive with the GRE option, or a variation of the Mazda/Judd ALMS motor which is speculated to be in development for IndyCar use.

Unfortunately, it's all too good to be true. 2010 and 2011 should all but kill off the dying sport, meaning that even with open regulations, just Honda will compete with their E98 Ethanol V6 turbo. The teams will be on the verge of collapse, meaning they'll likely stick with a spec chassis to keep costs down, and the open rules will be negated by the reality of the circumstances surrounding a sport that's seen too much.

I applaud Randy Bernard for bringing in legitimate racing people to make sporting decisions while he takes care of marketing. I do see massive improvement in both categories, with ICONIC making the more open engine regulations, and Bernard has been able to acquire many new partners (i.e. IZOD, Sunoco, etc) for the sport in addition to throwing out some new promotional ideas (i.e. the proposed $20,000,000 for any driver to win the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race in the same day or $2,000,000 for the driver with the best average finish in the two events in the event no one can win both that would take effect in 2011 if Bruton Smith agrees to split the cost and Mari Hulman-George signs off on it; crowning oval and road course champions in addition to an overall champion to make the final three races of the season championship finales, etc).

I don't think it will come instantly, but for the first time in a while, there might just be some hope in top-level North American open wheel racing.

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ALMS is awesome. While the NFL/Intersport films production of the Laguna Seca docu-drama on CBS was a bit much (I would have preferred watching the actual race, as it was a great event), it is the right idea to get key races on a heavily-viewed channel in a format that may not appeal to general racing fans but would please Joe Television. American Le Mans has a lot of potential, featuring some brilliant races as it is, and a few more competitors would really enhance the sport. Unfortunately, money is needed to get to that point, and money will only come with an increase in popularity. Hopefully, ALMS will continue to be marketed.

I do believe that the sport, as a technological and environmental leader among racing disciplines, does attract fans who do not typically partake in motor racing-viewing, and could further appeal to more spectators of that variety. Buying a timeslot to show technology-centric ALMS programming on a channel such as Discovery could help grow the sport. The Acura program that formerly aired on SPEED was very insightful to the development of an LMP; unfortunately, it was marketed to people already watching the sport when it could have been shown on a more science-y network to appeal to new fans.

Fortunately, though, the sport is still showcasing proper racing even without a plethora of vehicles, and it will be a lot of fun to see the remainder of the season with the Highcroft Acura facing challenges at tracks like Road America from the powerful Intersport Lola-AER and tighter circuits from the Dyson Lola-Mazda.

One wonders if the aforementioned IndyCar regulations were based on the success of American Le Mans, as Long Beach featured a duel between V8 and V12, and Laguna Seca one between I4 and V8.

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In NASCAR land, don't be surprised to see Mattias Ekström and Rick Kelly of the touring car world step into the 83 Red Bull Toyota vacated by Brian Vickers for medical reasons (blood clots, which recent research suggests are very much associated with consuming energy drinks such as Red Bull) for the road courses. While Casey Mears has secured the ride for the ovals, Red Bull tested Ekström at VIR, and the Swedish NASCAR fan is available to race at the upcoming Infineon event as it falls on a DTM off-weekend. Aussie Rick Kelly, due to his Red Bull connection, has been rumored to drive the car at Watkins Glen during the V8 Supercars' off-season, a race in which he'd square off against former V8 competitor Marcos Ambrose.

On the subject of road course ringers, sports car racer and former F1 pilot Jan Magnussen has been confirmed to make his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut at Infineon, driving for the struggling Phoenix Racing organization. In the second-tier Nationwide Series, Víctor Gonzalez, Jr. is expected to compete at Road America in the 05 Day Enterprises machine with fellow international racer Ruben Rovelo of Mexico in the 86 for Chivas Racing. Rovelo will also compete at Montréal in the 86, but will not participate in the Watkins Glen event, as Brazilian touring car racer Marcos Gomes will make his NASCAR debut at the New York track.

Two current converts, Nelson Piquet, Jr. and Narain Karthikeyan, had solid runs in the Camping World Truck Series last night. Piquet placed eighth in an attrition-filled race, his second top ten in the series, with Karthikeyan one lap back in eleventh.

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Eric - As is often the case, your detailed and informative updates are much appreciated, not the least by out-of-touch, overworked old codgers... not that I know of any personally.

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200-mile race at Daytona...how many times do you think the word "Danica" was uttered by the commentators? Nearly once every two miles (Daytona is, of course, 2.5 miles in length, unlike Dayton B, which is 300 miles in length in the Formula 1 configuration...so over once per lap). To be precise, 99 times in one broadcast. Big time credit to "BaltoRacing" for putting this sucker together (and for having a nice archive of older NASCAR races from my youth...ahh, the simple times, when the races were still scripted...I just didn't know it ;)).

The video will jump to 00:10 in at the start; I did that as a service to you as there's an intro before the real video. Though I'd venture to guess you'd find the intro less annoying than "Danica" 99 times.

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Riley, a leading chassis supplier in Grand-Am, are looking toward LMP2 for 2011 according to Marshall Pruett who I steal most of my racing knowledge and Danica videos from. Well, I gave you the link, read what I read there!

I think it's fantastic for LMP2 to go to a cost-effective formula. Grand-Am have benefited from multiple suppliers, and many of them could easily transition over to ALMS to help become part of a growing and exciting series. It's a good time to be sports car racing, I'd say. It's not the most popular racing, but it's one of the few disciplines with any relevance.

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Also from the Pruett article....a new BP-free livery for Dyson. I love it.

http://dlstatic.spee...Lb/1323x882.jpg

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Last tidbit I'll swipe from Pruett...

One of the better ALMS teams has been hard at work to secure diesel prototypes for their 2011 ALMS campaign.

The link directs to a picture of the Audi R15, which will conveniently be available. Highcroft? Cytosport? Drayson? He just says ALMS, though...maybe an LMPC or GT team looking to move up? I could see Level 5 Motorsport move from LMPC, you know. They're well-funded there and in Grand-Am, team owner Scott Tucker tasted an Audi with the Kolles R10, and Lucas Luhr, an Audi driver, drove for Tucker at the Rolex 24...

Who knows, but I love this news. Watching the P2s take on the R15 at Long Beach (and throw the Aston in, too) would be thrilling stuff. The tighter tracks of ALMS can really eliminate diesel dominance, so I'd love to see it.

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4777881384_4919f19485.jpg

Two things I found amusing in that: the car suddenly becomes uglier when the IRL becomes the main league. (The prettiest, of course, is the Lotus 56).

Also, I love the italics at the bottom..."Please RSVP by being invited."

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I'd like to send my condolences to the family, friends, fans, associates, etc of Mark Niver, who passed away in NHRA competition yesterday.

--------------------------------------------------

Sensitive as it is, I am now going to rant about it. I mean no disrespect.

When is a sanctioning body of motor racing going to get their crap together and make safety decisions PROACTIVELY?! Here we are, every year, we lose drivers. And the sanctioning bodies react to it, they wait for tragedy to respond. They never try to prevent it; they just try to prevent it again.

Why?

F1, NASCAR, CART...all of them needed major fatalities to happen before they took action. Even minor incidents still trigger every safety change they make; F1 doesn't give the drivers' heads more protection until after Wurz and Coulthard crash in Melbourne and a need for it is seen.

Why is it that everyone in charge of racing series are just so daft that they won't just make the cars and the tracks as safe as possible before the incidents?

Why do we need something to actually fail before we realize that it actually can fail?

Who runs these series?

Two fatalities in one year, and another just a few years back! Come on! The NHRA's just losing credibility each and every day.

It's disgusting. So disgusting. This doesn't need to be happening in modern-day motorsport, not at all.

Seeing the sport once again become more than just a sport only speeds up the process of me not watching auto racing anymore. I've left many series over a lack of interest, and now I leave the NHRA over a lack of safety. Soon, I wonder, if I'll just be watching the "stick and ball" sports and nothing more...

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Don't know anything of the incident of what you write above, Pucky Wucky, but I was aghast at how the so called safety crews acted after de Silvestro's crash in the Indy race recently. The way they just pulled and wrenched and dragged her out was pathetic, so too their so called fire truck. For a country so libel conscious it amazes me how much they leave themselves open to.

I think with drag racing, the safety standards must be hard to apply with so many cars built by amateurs. Yes, the standards must be set from above, and no doubt they are, but it's the steward at the race track that has to implement them, and I would think that only a few nationally have any engineering back ground at all and even know what they are looking at.

We have a log book from SCCA for one of the Lola's and one of the entries from the safety steward says "needs a polish"....ok..so it was in the early '80's, but still....

As for Indy...for a car that is so old now, that it is somewhat reasonably safe is actually not too bad. Take 'em away from highspeed concrete bowls and your fatalities will reduce, but you yanks don't like circuit racing for some reason....heck y'all do solo racing around carparks....

The new Indy car will invariably have better crash structures etc etc built in as technology has moved on since the cars of today were made.

F1 however, I think, has been quite proactive in safety. Every year there is yet another "safety" measure, and the crash structures get more and more reinforced. Webber's little flight recently just goes to underline the measures that F1 has taken.

However, if you do wrap motorsport up in cotton wool, then you might as well just cancel it all. The speed, the danger, the noise, the smell - it's what it is. For the speeds attained, for the crashes that happen, motorsport is by far safer than driving your own car down to the corner store.

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The Indy thing with de Silvestro was sickening because they didn't have reactive safety measures...the redneck running the thing just swept it under the rug and pretended it didn't happen, defending his "highly trained" professionals.

I think I'm just finding out motor racing isn't my thing anymore. Which makes this forum kind of hard for me :P

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Well you can always hang around and be the village cynic :P

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Well you can always hang around and be the village cynic :P

How can one by cynical when things like

exist?!

Besides, cynics are usually clever. ;)

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While the IRL tried to steal the spotlight and unveil their 2012 car, NASCAR also announced their latest COT, scheduled for 2011...

2010_07_13_transformers08.jpg

2010_07_13_transformers07.jpg

Okay, maybe not, but the first image seems to give something of a hint as to what the next generation Chevrolet Impala will look like (an elongated Volt). ;)

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I'm sure i've seen those somewhere before...but....can't....quite....put....my....finger....on....it....

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I'd like to send my condolences to the family, friends, fans, associates, etc of Mark Niver, who passed away in NHRA competition yesterday.

--------------------------------------------------

Sensitive as it is, I am now going to rant about it. I mean no disrespect.

When is a sanctioning body of motor racing going to get their crap together and make safety decisions PROACTIVELY?! Here we are, every year, we lose drivers. And the sanctioning bodies react to it, they wait for tragedy to respond. They never try to prevent it; they just try to prevent it again.

Why?

F1, NASCAR, CART...all of them needed major fatalities to happen before they took action. Even minor incidents still trigger every safety change they make; F1 doesn't give the drivers' heads more protection until after Wurz and Coulthard crash in Melbourne and a need for it is seen.

Why is it that everyone in charge of racing series are just so daft that they won't just make the cars and the tracks as safe as possible before the incidents?

Why do we need something to actually fail before we realize that it actually can fail?

Who runs these series?

Two fatalities in one year, and another just a few years back! Come on! The NHRA's just losing credibility each and every day.

It's disgusting. So disgusting. This doesn't need to be happening in modern-day motorsport, not at all.

Seeing the sport once again become more than just a sport only speeds up the process of me not watching auto racing anymore. I've left many series over a lack of interest, and now I leave the NHRA over a lack of safety. Soon, I wonder, if I'll just be watching the "stick and ball" sports and nothing more...

Don't know anything of the incident of what you write above, Pucky Wucky, but I was aghast at how the so called safety crews acted after de Silvestro's crash in the Indy race recently. The way they just pulled and wrenched and dragged her out was pathetic, so too their so called fire truck. For a country so libel conscious it amazes me how much they leave themselves open to.

I think with drag racing, the safety standards must be hard to apply with so many cars built by amateurs. Yes, the standards must be set from above, and no doubt they are, but it's the steward at the race track that has to implement them, and I would think that only a few nationally have any engineering back ground at all and even know what they are looking at.

We have a log book from SCCA for one of the Lola's and one of the entries from the safety steward says "needs a polish"....ok..so it was in the early '80's, but still....

As for Indy...for a car that is so old now, that it is somewhat reasonably safe is actually not too bad. Take 'em away from highspeed concrete bowls and your fatalities will reduce, but you yanks don't like circuit racing for some reason....heck y'all do solo racing around carparks....

The new Indy car will invariably have better crash structures etc etc built in as technology has moved on since the cars of today were made.

F1 however, I think, has been quite proactive in safety. Every year there is yet another "safety" measure, and the crash structures get more and more reinforced. Webber's little flight recently just goes to underline the measures that F1 has taken.

However, if you do wrap motorsport up in cotton wool, then you might as well just cancel it all. The speed, the danger, the noise, the smell - it's what it is. For the speeds attained, for the crashes that happen, motorsport is by far safer than driving your own car down to the corner store.

I'm disappointed in you two (mostly at pucky the great white whale thingy more than the kiwi...your last sentence saves you). There is nothing inherently safe about auto racing. There is no way to make it 100% safe....and if there was, I wouldn't want it done. The magic is in the danger. Courage is the greatest inspiration and spectacle in life...and you can't have courage without danger.

And Handy isn't quite so handy when it comes to knowing the U.S. You do yourself a disservice by basing your view of a country solely on magazine articles and the opinions of university professors and politicians. Those three are never to be trusted. With time, hopefully, you'll find that out.

Edited by Autumnpuma

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So, this has been bugging me for most the day. I thought I'd post my thoughts here and see what bites.

I saw a clip today of the Nationwide race that I believe happened just the other day. Basically, what happens is Carl Edwards wrecks Brad Keselowski intentionally on the line, before Brad's car is hit several times broadside and at a fast speed.

What really boiled my blood though, was Edwards and his team's reaction, celebrating, clapping, cheering, yelling "good job" over the radio.

Good job?!

There's just been possibly one of the worst types of incidents you can get in motor racing, a car being hit broadside. How the f*ck is that a good job? Thankfully, Keselowski was okay, but how would they have felt if he'd been injured or even worse?

My next question. How is NASCAR, such a joke of a series, able to survive? It's biased as f*ck and it's more dangerous than any other series I'd say, seeing as you've got some complete tools, racing around in 200mph cars with no disregard for each other's safety when they should never be allowed anywhere near a race car in the first place.

Now let me say, the things I know about NASCAR and oval racing on general could be written on a sticky note so feel free to correct me on anything. Yet, as an "outsider" so to speak, this series doesn't look good. At all.

Edited by JHS

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Okay, so this is a bit late, but I've been on holiday for the past couple of the days and read about the race in the recent AUTOSPORT, when Helio was DSQed from the race. I have to say, what a terrible series and a joke of a rule. Effectively, Indycar with the rules about "blocking" are manufacturing overtaking. It's really, really bad and has quite annoyed me in a way. It does nothing to do anything to make the series more popular or successful, which they need to achieve as they still struggle to manage the transition into just one open wheel championship. "Blocking" and "Defending your position" are two completely different things. Blocking is one car putting another in a very dangerous situation, nearly running the other guy clean off the road, like we saw with Barrichello/Schumacher at Hungary. That shouldn't be allowed and yes, should indeed be penalised very hard. But, defending your position is completely different, it's putting a race on for what the crowd pay to go and see at the end of the day. I don't care if there isn't too much overtaking, but if there is a raging battle up the front where one guy is defending and the other guy is looking to attack, that's good, that's exciting, that's what we LIKE to see. Lots of overtaking that has been purposely manufacturered to get ailing TV figures up is NOT what anybody wants to see. It's just....bad. Okay, so for the casual fans, they may like it, but even then, I bet they can see through it and see what it really is. Fake racing. I feel bad for Helio and can understand his frustrations, but what I don't condone is how he confronted officials after the race. That just sets a bad example to younger guys watching, who see these people as idols.

I thought Indycar was on the up, but this shows me how farcial the sport really is. There is some really top calibre in the series currently, so just let them do what they are paid to do, RACE!

I'll admit, I've been perhaps overly critical of American motorsport in the past, and was ready to give it a chance. But what I've seen recently, poor racing, idiots who wreck others on purpose and really shoddy rules shows how desprate these series are. I think I'll stay on the other side of the Atlantic to watch my motorsport from now on, thanks.

Edited by JHS

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