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2016 Indy 500 so far...

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#1 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 02:15 AM

The field is set. For the 100th time.

But wait a minute only 33 starting positions and only 33 entries?!

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

A Charlie Foxtrot for sure.


A qualifier crashed before completing a 10 mile run?

And is in the "starting field"!

The reserved seats are soldout but the live TV is still blacked out in Central Indiana.

Worse than the NFL policy that arose in the Senate...but crickets on this issue.


Uh I drop the BS flag right here and now.


Check the number of entries in the early 1980s - over a hundred mostly capable entries is what you will find.


On the Best Side...

Conditions are safer than last year as well as more stable rules are in play.

The cars don't fly when spun backward to the travel direction, simple NASCAR idea written into specs.


Hinchcliffe, no he is a Canadian, got the pole after last year having his life saved by IUMed Trauma men and women after a bad crash here.

A major assist to the Speedway and Indycar on scene trauma/medical people.


I'll still be pulling for Hinch but this year to win.


If the Speedway wants to recover the answers are easy.

1. Put someone in control that loves the Indy 500 as Tony Hulman did.

2. Dump the current PR bullshit crew. Hire someone that "knows what Indy means" as Al Unser Jr. put it.

3. Work with Indycar to allow the small increases in pole speeds most years as safety improvements allow.

4. Return to the traditional qualification methods as built the pole day to a whole separate race.

5. Get back to "its a new track record"!

6. Provide a path of career advancement to the dirt track circle burners of America to get to the big one!


Witness Joe Leonard AMA bike champ then went to Indy in good cars. Or Tony Stewart, or AJ.

Some people can drive the heck out of anything with wheels. Clark as the european prototype.

And then there were the Larry and Gary shows at the fairgrounds on dirt.

Gary B....and Larry D I remember!


Fill the stands every damn year not just the anniversaries and for more than one or two or three days all month.

You all rebuild it and they will come.

The "sponsoring" corporations follow the crowds - witness NASCAR trying to take Indy's place.

Reunion with CART did not fix it, neither did making FNone welcome.

Go back to what YOU Know Worked.

#2 Larry Trotter

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 03:05 PM

Oh I agree Jim, but I don't know about "new track records". The "forgiveness factor" relative to control of the vehicle is all but gone. Time and time again, the cars have been slowed down, but are still too fast. As usual, your comments appreciated, and awaited.


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#3 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 03:44 AM

Agreed per safety for all. Drivers, Track crews and the customers comes first.

My position is that as progress is made either to the facility or the vehicles or the equipment the imposed limitations should be re-examined and relaxed as technology permits.

Not just the Speedway, I apply the same ideas to my opinion of regulation by insurance corporations as this has become a large determinate per cost of facility operation.

Witness the NHRA fiasco at present.

Whereas NHRA drag strips have not seen fit to extend the shutdown area to vastly improve safety, some tracks can handle it, some like Pomona can't expand.

There was a time of exploding clutches that NHRA drag racing was as lethal as Indycars in the old days.

They found a better way to be putting the nitro monster behind the drivers at least for top fuel. Garlits saved the sport and hundreds of lives since 1971.


Indy has always been on the cutting edge of developing safety methods.

Not just safer barriers now adopted globally with a nod to the University involved in creating a better way and IMS was involved directly.

Fuel cells, bladders came first but IMS has been ahead of the curve most of the time, they have had to be after the times the pooch got screwed and in public.

IMS has had to serve as Indycar's nee Champ Car's Jackie Stewart ruffling feathers but always working for the betterment of conditions and safety.


I know Billy Graham called for banning motor racing at a time when half the starting field of the 500 would die racing within a decade in '55.

Graphic things happen in many "sports".

A casual fan can ignore the reality swept up in the PR and propaganda of the moment thinking the band plays taps for past fallen drivers.


I can never think 'well he/she died doing what he/she loved' when disaster comes as it always will sooner or later, it ain't tiddly winks.

"too fast" is relative. Concrete is unforgiving at 150 mph or 250 mph given what is hitting the wall. Mass and Inertia.

So few "civilian" drivers know the reality at highway speeds.

But 236 record is near today @ 231 pole speed. And racing @ 225 for 2 and 1/2 hours is the real test.

Two separate races as it should be changed back.

In 1995 236 was on the edge. It is not so near the edge now.

1955 and 145 mph with a roadster was dangerous as much for the drivers as for the others present.

Changes were made to keep cars from hopping the fence,

Dan Weldon final developed the present car combating the same problem in Indycar since the 1950s,

that of cars climbing over each others' wheels at speed.

The nascar flaps imposed on the Indycars this year seems to have worked as well as it did for the stock car guys and gals to keep the cars from taking flight when traveling backwards


Racing should always be developing not being regulated to a speed limit.

If one cannot go faster what is the point?

Two decades under the shackles of rule writers is enough the technology has caught up.


The Indycars are more capable than all other open wheel cars which makes F1 and the bad king Ecclestone cringe and Ferarri puke on their blueprints.

The Indycar drivers are in control of the vehicles otherwise they would never be allowed to compete.

Some men and women have the gift to drive quite well.

You cannot buy a ride in Indy with a few "also rans" that did here as many do in F1 even Niki Lauda had to do that in FNone. Think Salt Walther 73 -4.


I put Clark, Stewart, Lauda and Hill all in the same level - few better.

Same for Wilbur Shaw and AJ and the Unsers and on and on.

A lucky few can do what I wish I could.


My own trepidation concerns pit lane safety. Part of the presumed safety changes was limitation of on board fuel,

twice as many pitstops is flirting with disaster. Many more folks are harmed in the pits than people hurt on the track in crashes.

Makes no sense to me given the state of fuel systems today.

I do feel better this year than I did last year for safety.


Locally all day the news buzz for motorsports is the announcement that IMS may lift the blackout for Indianapolis ABC tv.

Conditional on selling out the infield admissions between now and then.

We shall see. Or maybe not.

If blacked out it is a drag to avoid the news until Indianapolis broadcast time or travel for live play.

Both choices suck! Moreover for the very self same people you want to sell tickets to, counterproductive!

ST thinking there... Tony Hulman was a Yaley after all.


I do hope to watch the 500 live without driving to Cincinnati or Terre Haute,

I want to do it here in my home with libation for the moment the green flag flies.


I hope.


Go get 'em Hinch!

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#4 Larry Trotter

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 11:49 PM

Great thoughts, Jim. I suppose that if up to me, just maybe at Indianapolis the throttle would need to be backed off to enter the turns, at least T1 and T3. The roadsters of the '50s and early '60s were going about 180 mph on the long straightaways while average speed was near 150 mph. So, I have to consider possibly going wingless at some point after periodic size reduction(s) to reduce downforce. On the other hand, maybe added drag using wings to match downforce. I would also tend to believe that a tire width/footprint reduction of about 10%, or 1.5" rear and 1" front width reduction might be worth trying. And maybe a limit of 2 liter engines instead of 2.2 liter engines as the size I understand to be in use.

Just a few random thoughts as a fan, maybe the drivers, owners, mechanics, and engineers might not agree, but I do believe some changes are needed and would benefit the sport.


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#5 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 04:29 AM

There has to be a balance, like all "risk-sports".


Small c.i. displacement creates hi rev reliability issues. Particularly at distance races running 225 mph averages all day long OK for 3 hours or so.

Nobody else can do this anywhere in the world except INDY. F1 dreams of that claim and often lie about it. Seeing a maxed out 200 mph for a second or two at most. A peak speed bragged about but unable to qualify for most Indycar races.


Indy always has been about raw speed. Until the age of regulations the last 50 years.... Out of the pattern of success.


F1's 15,000 rpm does little for me. Sounds kool thru a sound bar, but the politics of F1 turned it to Fnone compared to the age of Fangio and Clark and the Hills Damon and Graham.

By contrast a 500 Cube nitro hemi at 8,000 rpm is the badass of the world at 10,000 HP the sound of which fires me up just as a spectator.

Cutting engine size is no solution as smaller size turning more rpm is asking for failure in the race, but is likely better than today's one of two engines at Indy and one chassis by regulation and Yes I do resent that.


In 1971 the 180 cubic inch 40 year old designed Offys were making 1500 hp in the day of unrestricted turbo boost. And was FoMoCo and Foyt were pissed off. And unable to compete for a while in the 1970s.

Ah "unrestricted" the rub. Indy was built on the concept of developing technology reigning over the rules except for safety matters.

The Turbines of Andy Granatelli being examples of what can be done thinking outside the box, er the rules!

Or stock block engines (pushrod) Buick and Benz did well with the size break for "non-racing" engines,

but Benz's effort of the mid 1990s was CHEATING as no "beast" engine came to production Benzes to my knowledge

so it was cheating to warp a rule for stock blocks to make a race engine not sparing the cost as Penski and Benz did NOT.

Cheaters all and caught not by rule but by basic unfairness.

The rule was written to cut costs for low dollar teams not juggernaut exploitation by corporate dreams of grandeur.


That is the issue most threatening to Indycar and Indy that of the Politically correct dictation of what will be raced. Dellara chassis Honda or Chevy overhead cam RACE Engines. Our way or go race NASCAR???

The best talent of this day has come out of go-kart racing. Fine but where does a Yank driver break into Indy racing?

By bringing huge amounts of sponsor dollars to the negotiation with a car owner. Not by running hard to gain a reputation as a hot-shoe in the dirt track bullrings of Sprint cars, not now.

In my youth a "Shoe" of some demonstrated ability on dirt would be hired and paid by the car owner as a split of the purses. Not Now!


Even Chip Ganassi drove Indycar long enough to learn he could buy the car, hire a team only to prove he didn't have what money cannot buy - ability.


That is sad. Again growth of the sport was stalled by the rule writers to March chassis and Cosworth (FoMoCo) engines it was easier to go fast.

I do not like all the cars sounding alike and not backing off the throttle into turns 1 and 3 makes it worse to me.

I grew up a fan and I could could tell who had the more guts (PCorrect edit) by how deep they could drive into turns 1 and 3 before getting off the loud pedal. Hurtubise and Johncock for my opinion.


Real race fans know the history and progression of for real better ideas proven in competition. Race fans of Indy long for a better management team of the facility.

IMS can dictate what direction Indycar racing is going to go. IT did this ignoring CART and the "world series of Indycar" to reunify on Indycar's terms.

Indy fans want a return to the way it can be not operated by "PR" experts. Indy needs no salesmanship. Operation by folks that love Indy not just the big dollar job it handed them.

Indy needs no promotion.


That was done 100 years ago and 71 years ago when the Hulman family saved the track from the strip malls and "subdivision developers".

One of the things missing to day is innovation, other ways of doing the job.

I know how different the FoMoCo engines of the mid 1960s sounded from the 4 banger Offys.

I know well how Clark, Gurney and the rear engine "funny cars" out ran all by much higher cornering speed.

I know when I fell deeply in love with automotive engineering. 1966 and the STP Granatelli Novi supercharged v-8 got me by that incredible sound of power vibrating my chest.

The first supercharged engine I ever heard and felt. Primed me for nitro NHRA later in my life.

Diversity is needed and breaking records can be done at minimal risk.

Breaking records fills the stands of fans living vicariously. I don't do that but I know what I am seeing so I value it all.

I know that race fans do NOT attend to see people hurt, real ones do not. They do get a thrill to see a driver get into trouble but cheer all the louder when the human being climbs out of the wreckage and waves to the paying customers.

Anyone that is present when someone is killed or badly hurt knows the stands fill with silence. I've seen both conditions.

Fans are not blood thirsty ghouls.

Indy fans do NOT like street parade races F1 worships, (no competition and few passes for position).


Indy has the best safety record of all forms of automotive competition bar none.

A fact often forgotten and not promoted in favor of the graphic, gory and spectacular crashes of the past preserved on film, tape or digital formats.


I would ask the drivers and retired greats of this sport how they feel about limitations by rules not safety related but insurance corporation dictated bullshit rules American racing is shackled by now.

I know what the Unsers have to say, I know what Gary Bettenhausen thought about it.

All the above lost family to the risks and all do NOT support more cutbacks unless the goal is "killing the sport" that gave them a fine though heartbreaking living of some means.

Ask the folks that "know what Indy means" as Al Unser Jr put it in victory circle 1992.

Nobody in the regulating jerks ask them as far as I know.

They don't ask me either....turn 'em lose dammit.


As in every year I pray for no one to be harmed - drivers, track workers and the spectators but know well it is not tiddly winks, it is the 500.

#6 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 10:12 AM

THE IMS has lifted the blackout for Indianapolis ABC TV.

It is about time. Long over due.


Now at least this one year I can watch the RACE in HD live,

and tune in the IMS Radio Network for racer oriented sound and meaningful commentary.


ABC's broadcast talking heads with the exception of Scotty Goodyear and Eddie Cheever drivers' commentary aren't up to the job,

split screen for commercials is bullshit

Too many times a pass for the lead is replayed only after kissing the corporate asses! Instead of breaking into the dollar kiss ass shit to show it in realtime

play that bullshit only under the yellow .... freakin' idiots! Blinded by the glitter of the gold, eh ESPN mothership?


No more Jim McKay, Chris Economaki and Jackie Stewart (no titles here Jackie) knowing what is being done even if never having driven any racecars.


The theater of the mind radio show with more driver's commentary and Donald Davidson, Mike King and the crew of people that do "know what Indy means".

Stay tuned for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing from the Best Racetrack anywhere on the IMS Radio Network.


Truth be known that is where and when this gearhead fell in love with motorsports about 1960.

Sid Collins and Howdy and John and Lou and the 1960s I remember.


Heres to all and hopes for a Grand Memorial Day weekend to remember decoration day's reason for being.

Hell I even bought a few Guinness.

To friends who are not here.

#7 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 29 May 2016 - 10:33 PM

Quiet returns to 16th & Georgetown.... except for the garbage trucks and people cleaning up the facility.


Another greatest spectacle in racing.

Fast, safe n clean running.

An American rookie won.

Some say a "gas mileage" win but I wouldn't go turn in the "mini-Borg-Warner" trophy were I Mr. Rossi.

Getting to the end of lap 200 is all that matters and ya can't get there before you leave.

I'd call the Honda engineers "crafty".


For another year signing off... good morning, good evening or good night where ever you happen to be

#8 Larry Trotter

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 11:17 PM

A great race Jim, at least on the track. Alexander Rossi may be an Indianapolis 500 rookie, but he is an accomplished major league racecar driver. My favorite to win, Townsend Bell, drove a great race, on the track, but had the pit road accident that cost him and Ryan HunterReay valuable time and the opportunity to win. Maybe consideration should be given to a minimum "stop" time of 15 seconds on  pit stops occurring during caution flag periods. If passing is not allowed on the track under caution, why should it be permitted on pit road? And, the speedway needs to work on the pre-race festivities. The National Anthem  and Back Home Again In Indiana has been done much better, in my opinion.


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#9 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 10:57 AM

Good ideas Larry,

Yellow flag pit way n means should be better - maybe first pit open yellow lap for leader lap cars and next lap for others and after that open to top off as I think Mr. Rossi did to open a window to 199 and a half laps. He did indeed run out of fuel just out of turn 4 coming to the flag that pays. Exciting!

Excellent thinking outside the box on your part, Sir.


Yes I agree as to National Anthem and Back Home Again in Indiana...

Jim Nabors can't do it forever.

Worst I ever saw was the year the crowd was expected to sing in Jim Nabor's absence, it was abysmal.

It won't be the first time "Back Home Again" brought tears to my eyes like the first year home a special meaning of a special day with my Pop.


I can't help but think a return to pomp and tradition would be better than what now gets served up by "PR" firms.


Next weekend I hope to be feeling well enough to go to the Vintage Invitational Races at the Speedway. I hope....

No crowd to speak of and a slower friendlier pace to be able to talk to the owners of the cars they preserve to race for me to see 'em again.

My yearly fix of Cobras and Duntov 'Vettes and Ford GT 40s and Porsches and Lotus and Ferarris

plus the few remaining Watson Offy roadsters and a few flathead Ford indycars from the late 1940s.

And the Maserati from 1938 that showed a better way to Indy at that time.

Mechanical art.

I'll try to get some photos and post the best one.

#10 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 10:57 PM

Sorry folks - no report on the Vintage Invitational Races...

I am just not up to it this weekend. I apologize.


I can put up a couple of pictures from the last two year's events in a bit.

I do ask pardon, I am just not as 'up and at 'em' as I was before the Doctors did their job last Tuesday.

Required though it was it took more out of me than I thought it would.


#11 Jim Hackett II

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Posted 18 June 2016 - 11:20 PM


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