Indy Racing League going in reverse for first time

January 7, 2010
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The Indy Racing League is officially going in reverse.

For the first time since the IRL was formed in 1996, the open-wheel series has added a reverse gear to its cars. The hope is the gear will be especially useful for teams spinning out or otherwise venturing off course during the series’ nine street and road courses.

The technology to allow the reverse gear will be provided by IRL’s promotional partner Xtrac,  and is designed to allow teams that encounter off-course troubles to rejoin the race faster than they would otherwise. IRL officials said the ability of cars to go backwards should also take some pressure off tracks’ safety crews. The reverse gear will debut March 14 at the race in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The kit, which series officials first considered making optional, then mandated, is inexpensive and easy to install, said Kevin Blanch, IRL technical director. Cars will continue to be outfitted with six forward gears, and the reverse gear will not be in place for oval races.

Most teams already have separate gear boxes for road and oval courses, so swapping them out shouldn’t be a big deal.

“We’ve been making updates every year—changing gear size, adding the paddle shift system—and it just happened to be the right time to put the gear in the car,” Blanch said. “It doesn’t make any of the parts obsolete; you just add the new kit. It’s on the drop gear side, so when the crew is making gear changes it doesn’t interfere. It just stays in the car the whole time.

“We thought about making it optional, but it needs to be a mandatory item because a lot of times you’ll get a couple of cars in a runoff. If the second car in didn’t have reverse and couldn’t back up, that’s not very fair to the other guy who spent the money to put the reverse in the car. That driver will be able to help himself.”

  • Ok, can't wait for the haters comments on this one.

    I am not really sure what took them this long to outfit cars in this way. I guess with the larger number of road courses, they finally decided it made sense.

    I guess this means, contrary to the hater prognosticators on here, there will be a 2010 IRL season. That is going to p!ss them off.

    Ok, let the inane hater comments begin.
  • great comment
    I love this quote: "... it just happened to be the right time to put the gear in the car.â??

  • iman's issues
    dude, you have issues only Dr. Phil can deal with. we're inside your head, dog.

    As for the story, TOney GEorges' IRL started in reverse and has been in reverse for 14 years. It only has reverse. Nothing it has done has bettered the sport. The two weekends of Mindy; that's all you need to know. Speedway, Indiana's town calendar has 45 days in April thanks to indyman's and TOneys' hard work at destroying a tradition.

    It's in your head.
  • Streets?
    How safe will this be on street courses, when drivers will be backing the car into the race circuit from a runoff area? It seems like a good idea to have the gear available, but is the driver's rear visibility enough to allow a confident drive in reverse? I just can't imagine someone backing out in traffic - road course or street course.
  • Milka
    Should be fun to watch in action if Milka does some road/street courses. Sounds like a new way for her to take out Danica.
  • Indy in Reverse
    So glad that STEVE is smarter than anyone involved in this decision, including the TEAM OWNERS. Dang, Penske or Cindric shoulda called you first oh great brain trust, STEVE.

    As for the rest of you diddlefusses, we're still left with the remainder of those involved trying to fix what Tony regrettably messed up. Give 'em a chance and let it go at that.

    Oh, and TRUTH(right), you can take your rapper crap to the pound.

    Woof, woof..........
    • agree on this
      Well, it appears there's something the haters and IRL apologists can finally agree on: Tony messed up. I know, what's passed is passed. Here's to a bright new future.
    • Reminds me of...
      ...tightening TV timeslots. A now defunct world-leader in AOW added reverse gearing to help eliminate cautions because they needed to finish race in time before it ran over the allotted time slot. I would think LOW TV ratings on a 3rd tier backwoods cable channel and no coverage on Direct TV would have some one cutting the timeslot like a knife or instilling a 1'45" race avoid wasting TV time, if you know what I mean.
    • reverse gear
      As a lifetime Indy Racing fan, it pains me to see a reverse gear as a metaphore for the direction Indy racing has been going since Champ broke away - backwards. namaste
    • Actually since i predicted what you would say, that would mean i am in your head. And unfortunately there is plenty of room, in there.
    • Another botched opportunity
      I am shocked, shocked I say, that the braintrusts at the 'league' have missed yet another opportunity at exciting co-branding with their tv 'partner'.

      Why, oh why, did they not call this new gear 'ReVersus'?!?!?


      Kevin Blanch is as dumb as Anton, how do you think he got that gig?

      Comedy gold.

      code = hgmd6
    • Stan that was pretty good.
    • ha ha
      For the first time? LMAO. Me thinks Special Ed might burn up his reverse gear on a road/street course. And I would love to see Ms. Feesher on a non-oval, he he. Meanwhile I hear the ICS gave out maps of the Brazil street course to the teams? Will someone show the disgraced former CEO George how to read a map?
    • TFF
      Oh man oh man. The IRL, a sport only a mother could love.

    • Duh
      Did anyone see Oreo's post of the slam on danicles on Facebook?! Kyle petty went off on it.

      The IRL: Easier to make fun of every single day.
    • Cotman OUT at IMS
      Word this AM sez TONY COTMAN has left the building and is starting his own track building business. Tony apparently has seen the light and is getting in (or out) fast! Will contract as track consultant for IRL in 2010.

      Things that make ya go HMMMM? Could this be even MORE foreign street racing in the very near future for the IRL? Maybe Cotman is getting ready for the break-away series. Great day to be a hater and enabler! :D
    • iman's issues
      I predicted fifteen years ago you and TOney would screw-up the month of May and open wheel racing
    • Agast
      no one wants to sponsor a former IRL 500 winner. I's agast

      "Tom Anderson spent the past two seasons running Gil de Ferranâ??s ALMS team but had to go job hunting when the 2003 IRL 500 winner was unable to find funding for the 2010 IndyCar season.

      â??Itâ??s a shame, Gil really beat the bushes trying to find a sponsor and keep that team going,â?? said Anderson. â??Sadly, right now itâ??s in mothballs.â??
    • My Next Prediction
      The IRL's next business partner will be Key Liquidators. Put money on it.
    • Coolers
      What will really kill this place is the coolers ban. I mean, how many of those hicks will even bother to show up without the ability to down some storebought Buds.

      Do the math. Case o buds @ Betty's Likkers, $17.99. 24 Levy Buds ($7 x 24) = $168, = everybody stays home.


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