IndyCar starts and stops
Let’s have a quick cringeworthy headline contest about standing starts in the Verizon IndyCar Series being suspended.
Starts stopped in IndyCar series
IndyCar puts the brakes on standing starts
Standing starts never took off in the IndyCar series
Lack of technology stops IndyCar series in its tracks
Most versatile drivers in world can’t handle standing starts
Most versatile cars in the world can’t handle standing starts
IndyCar series dumps fan favorite standing starts
Even though imaginary, these are the type of snarky headlines the series doesn’t need. And in today’s media, what other kind of headlines are there? It is obvious that the tone of these headlines is less than complimentary, and the Verizon IndyCar Series needs positive vibes.
The standing starts did ramp up the excitement at the beginning of street and road course races. The lights, the expectation, the unknown – these all create a mystique, an aura. For all these reasons, the series needs the option of standing starts. But better reasons exist for dropping them.
The Verizon IndyCar Series is at a crossroads and in the cross-hairs. The series desperately needs good press and PR. The standing starts provided neither.
When a standing start results in cars left on the grid or stuffed into a wall or each other, that is the indelible image that viewers take away. That’s the news. And when so few media outlets cover the series, any news needs to be good news, especially in a sport where tragic news is always a possibility.
Also, in a sport that advertises the most versatile drivers in the world, it is a little unseemly to have them left sitting on the grid. The problem with standing starts is not human, it is technical. These cars were not designed for standing starts. That is not what the average fans sees, though. The average fans sees a driver who cannot use a clutch and accelerator correctly. If IndyCar wants to control the narrative that these are the most versatile drivers in the world, then they have to create the plot that moves it along. That plot no longer needs the situational irony of standing starts.
The facts are today’s IndyCar drivers and the Dallara chassis are both the most versatile in the world. The car was a robust design for protection on high-speed ovals, yet was racy enough for road courses. In other words, it was a compromise and needed to be so. Standing starts were not on the radar when it was built and apparently do not fit this car well. That is one of the hazards with fly-by-wire design: you can’t just bolt on a new part and expect it to work. It needs to be designed that way. You know, like anti-stall.
What matters most about losing standing starts is that the fans lost something entertaining that was promised to them. In a press release, IndyCar president of competition Derrick Walker said, “We know the fans enjoy it, and we love it, too.” It might be a tad disingenuous to suggest that IndyCar loved it. Drivers seemed to say that they did it because the fans liked it. And the fans certainly seemed to enjoy it, if for no other reason than it was something new and different. IndyCar needs to keep searching for new and different.
The timing and technology just wasn’t right in the Verizon IndyCar Series for standing starts. Maybe next time they will plan it before they execute it. In other words, no more starts and stops.
I think IndyCar’s idea of standing starts was just another unsuccessful attempt to find an identity. In this case they were emulating F1. In the past they tried to be NASCAR with pack racing – with disastrous results. IndyCar had an identity – it was innovative, imaginative and independent. Now it is spec, boring and regimented.
I’d vote for 5 or 7, maybe both. Seem it most closely fits how I see the series.
I kept waiting to read the headline “failure to launch”…
Despite the fact that I, personally, prefer rolling starts, I was surprised and a tick disappointed by the decision to drop them. So many of this sport’s biggest and most vocal fans really liked them and Indycar has already done so many things unpopular with its base.
In addition to not being designed to perform standing starts, Indycars are among the largest and heaviest open-wheel race cars in the world, which I am sure compounded things.
I KNEW I was missing a great one, and that was it. I’ve seen your responses on other sites. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on mine.
The car can’t handle standing starts. Not sure if it never could and the league just took a shot at something to try it or if they thought it could and found out it couldn’t. Whether the car’s lawnmower-sized engines aren’t up to the test or it’s a tech issue, it’s time to move along …. To me the double points for one oval and the finale twisty was more interesting/eyebrow raising than the standing start deal.