Sunday, August 24, 2008
Alright, I know this is late in the game for this topic, but a few comments have urged me on to post more so here it goes.
The Indy tire debacle. What a mess for NASCAR, the track, and the fans. Tony George has been blamed. Goodyear has been blamed and of course NASCAR has been blamed. So who's fault was it?
Tony George laser ground the track two years ago. That made it more abrasive. Why, thats it of course. We have our fall guy. But wait, we have raced there twice without near the tire issues exhibited this year. Why now? Maybe he's not or fall guy.
Goodyear had a tire test at Indy with three cars. The compound they brought to the test proved to be pretty durable, but the driver's felt they were to unstable. Now what? Bring the same compound to Indy that was used last year. They had some tire issues last year but nothing horrible. A reasonable decision one would think.
NASCAR did not hold a mass testing at Indy to run in race conditions. A mistake? Probably.
So, the big question here is what was different this year than the last two year's? The track? no.
The tire? No. The car? Whoops.
The car. The COT. You know, the one that the teams have to use the tires as the suspension so it will turn. The car that is notoriously hard on right side ties. The car that appeared for the first time at Indy this year. The only variable was the car.
Now, I'm not a COT basher. It's just not there yet and they need to keep working on it. Had NASCAR run a full three day testing session at Indy this year, would we have seen what we did during the race. I doubt it. While it's true that with Indy booked up in May for obvious reason's, the test would have been held in April under quite different weather condition's than it was on race day, I think that a tire not lasting more than ten lap's would have reared it's ugly head.
So there you have it. Not enough testing of the new car on a track it's never seen before. Was the track a factor? Sure. Was the tire a factor? sure. But I don't think they would have been had they done a full test.
As far as how NASCAR dealt with it on race day, there didn't seem to be much of an option. Do they pack it up Saturday night and go home? Yeah right. You think people were upset with the way it went, you would've had to evacuate the folks from the infield in helicopters under heavy guard.
Some people were upset that NASCAR didn't leave it up to the teams as to when to pit for new tires. I was listening to several driver's radio's. Most could not wait for that ten lap competition caution. They kept asking "how many more laps till we pit. I've got cording, Ive got a vibration".
That would indicate to me that a lot of the teams would have done what NASCAR did anyway.
Other teams would try to push it. Thats what racer's do. They don't like to pit. Some would think that if they could just stay out for fifteen to twenty laps, they could get an edge. Based on what I saw, that would have been an accident waiting to happen.
So when it is all said and done, NASCAR did the only thing they could do. As a side note, I saw some pretty good racing during those ten lap sprints.
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