New format at the Speedway was overdue
LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC – Marco Andretti lines up to qualify for the 2013 Indianapolis 500.
Friday’;s announcement by the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials that they’;ve decided to shake up the month of May as soon as a lot more — this time, modifying the Indianapolis 500’;s qualifying format — is another welcome breath of fresh air from the relatively new management staff.
Traditionalists — nonetheless several are truly left — may well complain merely for complaint’;s sake, but it truly is hard to envision even this Cretaceous-aged group of curmudgeouns groaning too loudly. Moving the Quickly 9 Shootout for pole position to the finish of the weekend, on Sunday, Could 18, rather than on Saturday as it was for the previous 4 many years, in fact — gasp — tends to make a great deal of sense.
Are we confident this is IndyCar we’;re talking about?
Confident is. For starters, Bump Day has become a farce in recent years as Indy struggled to appeal to much more than 33 autos. You have to go back to 2011 for the most latest situation of any real drama on the Sunday. At the moment, there is minor explanation to believe much pleasure would have unfolded on Bump Day this year below the decades-outdated format. The most painful issue about watching poor Michel Jourdain Jr. fail to qualify on Bump Day last 12 months — he was the only driver in that predicament — wasn’;t so considerably Jourdain missing the race, but the efforts of the on-air crew attempting to convince the 6 people still watching at home that this was just the most fascinating, typically Indy deal we could ever hope to see. But I suppose that this was substantial-drama at its finest in contrast to the preceding handful of hrs of automobiles droning close to the Speedway with nothing at all truly at stake.
As Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman Motorsports, which oversees IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, explained Friday, “What this is about for us is that we have a need to give supporters more opportunities to see IndyCar drivers on the track when there’;s a whole lot at stake, not just with practice, but where they are out there with putting it on the line in a way that issues.
“First, pursuant to that purpose, we extra the Grand Prix of Indianapolis [on the Indy road program to open the Month of May]. I would say the response from followers and ticket purchasers has been terrific.
“Now nowadays we’;re announcing modifications for qualifying. These changes, we believe, guarantee that supporters will get pleasure from 2 days of fascinating track action. I feel in the last several many years, Saturday has been the day in qualifying, but there’;s been an chance to include far more compelling material on Sunday and that’;s what we’;re attempting to do here.
“Saturday will establish who will get into the Indianapolis 500 race, and Sunday will decide in which the vehicles who received into the race will start on the grid for the race itself.
“These 2 days will culminate, lead up to, the setting of the 1st 3 rows and the positions in the 1st 3 rows and who will begin the race in the pole position. We think that makes for much more compelling experiences at the track, and for television viewers all over the nation, we think the same.”
Frankly, it truly is somewhat wonderful that a person did not figure this out years ago. Most fans never care who fills the grid’;s backend when the pole shootout previously has been decided, and casual fans — something IndyCar craves and demands desperately — care even less.
But this 12 months, just perhaps thanks to this change, the total weekend of qualifying will draw more folks to the Speedway and far more Tv viewers for a longer period of time, peaking Sunday with the Fast 9. So not only does the adjust make sense from a competition and enjoyment standpoint, it helps make sense from a company perspective. Combined with the Grand Prix of Indianapolis street-program race on the weekend of Could 8-10 — not to mention an Indy 500 entry list such as Juan Pablo Montoya, Jacques Villeneuve and Kurt Busch — Indy should do a lot more organization, draw much more on-internet site fans and Television viewers, and garner far more interest and make more money in 2014 than it has in many years.
Very good move, IndyCar and IMS.
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