Shaking up the Indy 500

May 26, 2010
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Maybe the new blood at the Indy Racing League will restore some of the interest in the Indianapolis 500 that’s been lost in recent years.

Indy Racing League CEO Randy Bernard, the guy who ran the Professional Bull Riders circuit before joining the IRL in March, is pushing to take the 500 back to its roots as a lab for innovation, IBJ reporter Anthony Schoettle wrote in this week's paper.

Looser rules undoubtedly would push up the price of putting cars on the track. But a shakeup also could bring back some cachet the race surrendered after former Speedway head Tony George separated from Champ Car in 1996 to try to rein in costs and give American racers a better chance.

What do you think about giving teams more options for engines and chassis? Is innovation, or lack thereof, the IRL’s root problem?

  • loosen rules!
    The IRL and the 500 need the diversity that was found in racing 25 years or more ago. I long for the days of going to the track and hearing the roar of privateer Phil Krueger's Chevy V8 going all of the way around the track. The Menard Buick V6's pushing the speeds ever higher. Different chassis and engine combinations that created real interest on the part of fans. It is still exciting to see fast cars going around the track, but what the sports is missing is competition to innovate and develop something better. Or, perhaps a privateer that doesn't have access to the latest Honda powerplant, but has something else (within specs) that can power a carbon fiber tub around the track at 225 mph. The romance has long gone from the track and a loosening of rules and widening of specs to allow new innovations will go a long way towards bringing real interest back to a very compelling sport.
  • INDY 500 Back to 70's-90's
    When you can't distinguish a car or favorite drivers' car only by its paint-job that is a problem. Through the years as I was growing up the sponsor, the engine, the chasis, the body style was all the drivers persona... it was who he/she was!!! The car body style was as different from the other cars, as where the drivers. All the difference and pushing of changes made up what the Indianapolis 500 was all about... you saw the state-of-art designs, engine performance, chasis concepts that you didn't see anywhere else. You didn't have 33 cars that looked exactly alike, with the same engines all qualifying at the same speed. That is what you have now, everybody is the same!!!??? The reasons for - costs, race in the driver's hands, etc. But that is what the INDY 500 is about a "team concept" - it was the innovation, the team, the car, the engine the whole package - who could produce the best package!!! Believe me I have love the Indianapolis 500 and all it represents for 45 years, but stop going about 10 years ago because the individuality was not there anymore! Thanks
    PLUS -- Bring back a form of the SNAKE-PIT!!! I am family man and understand the reasons why it is gone... but man that was a Marketing faux pas!!!!
  • make the change
    If the indy 500 was run in the past like it is today would you have rear engine cars, wings, or had the Turbine or the Nova? I say if you want to strap a guy onto a jet engine and roller skates - go for it! If you can make the turns and last 500 miles, you win!

    That's what I think of for the 500. Speed and Endurance and balancing the two on top of Safety to be the best. yes, make the change and bring on the innovation.
  • IRL is the problem
    The IRL itself IS the root problem. Unload it and Bob Jenkins and Jack Arute and then you'd have the makings of restitution. Yep, open them rules so old cars can race with stock blocks etc. That will get r done.

    In essence, rewind 15 years and start it all over again. Can you imagine a 209ci rule back again or stock block rules when the engine might eclipse for practice and qualifying the mighty Honda spec engine? That would be exciting.
  • Money and Team Size
    I attended my first Indy in 1963 and saw an additonal 13 in person. When I could not get to Indy in May, I watched it on TV or listened on the radio until about 1990 when I lost interest. In my early years the drivers and cars were the show. I saw Jim Clark com as a part of the Lotus invasion but I also sat with Smokey Unick in his garage while he and AJ discussed how to get additional hp out of his chevy block. Turbines, Offenhausers, Turbine, Chevy, Lotus,front engine, rear engine, all were racing against each other. Penske was just beginning to build an empire but most enteries were just a bunch of guys who got together and built a car for Indy. Open the rule book, reduce the purse, limit teams to no more than two cars, and perhaps provide some additional compensation for single car teams and I believe you will regenerate fan interest.

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