Sitting in judgement of Indy 500 Time Trials
Suffice to say that opinions on the new qualification format at IMS for the Indianapolis 500 are mixed. As a trained observer (I’m not), I have the opportunity to listen in on the conversations of media types, drivers, owners, and fans. What follows is a sampling of what these different groups have to say about qualifying at Indy. These quotes may or may not have really happened. Go with the latter.
Old Time Local Media: “It’s a travesty. Why, I had to park all the way over on the golf course. I have a bad knee, a bad hip, and a bad attitude. What would all those journalists from the 50’s and 60’s say about this parking? I remember when the place was packed for the first day of qualifications. Those were real drivers. I could never really explain the old qualifying rules, but they were much better than these new ones. Did I mention the parking.”
Modern National Media: *Crickets*
Drivers: “What the hell? Do people know how hard it is to run flat out around this place for four laps ONE time? Huh? Do they? And now they are asking us to do it on two days with chances for do-overs with no penalty. What is wrong with these people? This is incredibly dangerous stuff. Wait. Is your mic on? Sorry. I meant to say that the drivers are in full support of the series and IMS in their quest to bring excitement and fans back to qualifications. A rising tide lifts all ships.”
Owners: “We are busting our tails chasing sponsors who demand exposure and TV time. You can believe that we support anything that helps us get this publicity for our partners. Yes, it’s a risk for our equipment and drivers, but it’s one we are willing to take. Anything for publicity…I mean the series.”
Hard-core Fans: “Qualifications are ruined. The split changed everything. We are the only ones who really care about the history of the race and IMS. Tony Hulman, Wilbur Shaw, and Carl Fisher would roll over in their graves if they knew what was happening. The esoteric nature of the old qualifying rules is what separated the casual fan from the real fans. A real fan is willing to work to understand the format. The only redeeming feature of the new rules is that they are even more confusing than the old rules. THAT we like since you really have to care about IndyCar to bother learning them.”
Casual Fans: “What new qualifying rules? The fastest car is on the pole, right? I have Twitter, Facebook, and the IndyCar 14 app on my phone. Who needs to know about rules? I can stream the qualifying and DVR what is not streamed. Why does anybody care about what the rules are? We just want to see the cars go fast. Aren’t Hardwell and NERVO going to be in the Snake Pit this year? The cars sure look pretty when they go by. I liked the balloons.”
There you have it. That’s the real skinny on what people are saying about the new qualifying format. You can find the truth anywhere. Always remember that this is your source for lies and innuendo.
Do they have a recording of Tom Carnegie in stentorian tones saying, “The track is now open for practice and qualification”? That would add some tradition for those of us who are “old school.” Not sure what they mean by the difficulty of understanding old qualifying rules. Ok, Ok.. I admit that I don’t really understand the new qualifying rules. Sitting here watching activities on TV, and have decided I don’t really care about qualifying rules. I am just happy, happy to see the cars running fast on the track for 10 miles. Wish I were sitting in first turn like I did 60 years ago.