barfle wrote: I'm not a fan of all the downforce wings of modern open-wheel cars, although I thought Jim Hall's use of one on the Chapparal in the Can-Am days was pretty cool. Which is why I said that the cars were so much prettier before they showed up.
barfle wrote: But driver safety is always improving. Any time you go from 215 to 0 over a distance of 50 feet, you're going to have structural stresses that can't help but result in injuries.
barfle wrote: There have always been backmarkers at Indy. Remember Dick Simon? He always had a car or two in the race, and if they ever made the top ten, I don't remember it.
barfle wrote: I honestly don't know what open-wheel racing is doing wrong that NASCAR is doing right.
barfle wrote: They still get sell-out crowds at Indy, though.
BigJon@Work wrote:The open wheel cars today develop sufficient mechanical grip that they could remove both wings and still flatfoot it all the way around every big oval but Indy. The IRL is using the big wings as drag sails to slow the cars down. The rear wing is actually generating lift!
BigJon@Work wrote:Yet the above configuration causes cars to sail into the air. That is disgusting and should be stopped. Tony Renna died in vain if it is not. I suspect that if Mario Andretti had died in his flight at Indy, we would have seen a much quicker change to the configuration and even safer drivers today.
BigJon@Work wrote:Right, but there were 22-28 cars that followed the circuit at that time and put in a serious racing effort on their own or on a sponsor’s dime. You didn’t notice the backmarkers as much except for the human interest stories. Now the backmarkers are all supported financially by the IRL and Tony George just to try to keep the field at 18 cars. Take away that support and their would probably only be 8-10 cars to take the green flag.
BigJon@Work wrote:Divisiveness, ignorance, lack of marketing, and a downright dirty war of track and team stealing is why open wheel has declined to the sad state it is in today and NASCAR has ascended.
BigJon@Work wrote:Boy, what rock have you been living under? Indy hasn’t actually sold out in almost a decade and crowd numbers and TV ratings continue to dwindle year after year. It is a shell of its former self. Sad.
barfle wrote: My point was that the styling of the early 1960s cars was much more pleasing to my eye than the wacky dipsydoodly megawinged monsters of today.
barfle wrote: But I must challenge your assertion that the rear wings generate lift, at least when the car is performing as intended (going forward at a speed over 80mph).
barfle wrote:BigJon@Work wrote:Yet the above configuration causes cars to sail into the air. That is disgusting and should be stopped. Tony Renna died in vain if it is not. I suspect that if Mario Andretti had died in his flight at Indy, we would have seen a much quicker change to the configuration and even safer drivers today.
I haven't seen any open wheel cars (Indy, Champ Car, or F1) get airborne even from going backwards. The ones I've seen sail into the air are the ones that have climbed tires. This is a genuine concern, but it is an inherent element of open wheel racing.
barfle wrote: Anyone remember Salt Walther? Anyone remember John Mahler? Anyone remember Bobby Marshman, Dave MacDonald, Mickey Rupp, Arnie Knepper, Sammy Sessions? These weren't backmarkers, but they rarely were in contention. Whenever you have 33 competitors, you have 32 also-rans.
barfle wrote: I was there in 2003. It wasn't any easier getting out of town then than it was in 1972. It is still the biggest event in Indiana (and several surrounding states) all year.
http://www.pbase.com/mwphoto/imsa_1990_sebring_12hour to http://www.pbase.com/mwphoto/93mo to see how quickly the blunt-nose, slab-sides look took over.
BigJon@Work wrote:Challenge away, but the wing angles are set by the rulebook at Indy and the required angles make the leading edge higher than trailing and generate lift instead of downforce. It’s not significant lift, on the order of 100s of lbs. The rulebook is kept secret by the IRL, so they can change it on a whim like NASCAR, or I would point you to the appropriate link. I got my info from an Indy race engineer’s article and from conversations with others who work in the industry.
BigJon@Work wrote:Tony Renna’s death was a single-car accident that did not involve any apparent mechanical failure or object to launch the car. He slid, flew, went through the fence and died. Had it been a spectator event, fans would most likely have been casualties as well, because parts went into the grandstands.
BigJon@Work wrote:Of course, but how many of those guys were on teams funded by the speedway? One or two, in most years. Now half the field has some sort of full-season support by the league, which if dropped, would prevent them from running the season. That’s sad.
BigJon@Work wrote:Did you notice how many scalpers there were selling race day tickets at or below face value in 2003?
BigJon@Work wrote:Tickets for 1972 were sold out a year in advance.
BigJon@Work wrote:Tony George and his advisors effed up and stubbornness and arrogance prevent them from going back and trying to repair the damage and reunite North American open wheel racing.
barfle wrote: Great shots.
barfle wrote: NHRA, either.
barfle wrote: I'm not privy to the rulebook, either, but all one has to do is see what the lack of downforce did to Helio's car when his back wing collapsed in Milwaukee to realize that it has a very strong positive effect on traction.
barfle wrote: All I know about the incident is what I was able to read in various news reports like this one. "Renna's car may have pinched the corner and got into the grass separating the pit lane from the track. That could explain why Renna's car was launched, going from grass to pavement and the air getting under the tub and sending it sailing into the catch fence." and this one. "The report said Renna apparently tried to correct the steering wheel after losing control and the car skipped sideways over the infield grass and became airborne."
barfle wrote: Auto racing is expensive (I have experience!). It's been a long time since I've seen a major series contender without plenty of advertising on its side
barfle wrote: I'm not sure what you man by "funded by the speedway" though.
BigJon@Work wrote: (Anyone remember Ontario Motor Speedway?).
barfle wrote: IMNSHO, it's not necessarily unification that we need (since I really don't see a 30 race season). I have no problem with one set of cars on road courses and another on ovals. I think we need to improve competition by making it easier to pass (most lead changes seem to happen at pit stops and parades are only interesting for five or ten laps), and to make the whole thing cheaper so tickets aren't something you need a mortgage for.
barfle wrote:We lost Dan Wheldon last year in a freak accident.
barfle wrote:I had thought that death was no longer part of the equation, but it seems I was wrong about that.
barfle wrote:I've never seen a race called on account of a casualty before, and although I found it as tragic as anyone did, racers don't stop racing because someone died.
barfle wrote:I reviewed part of this thread before I started writing this, as well as noting how open-wheel racing (IndyCar) is doing in the US. The problem is that the cars are under-powered and over tractioned. Any time you can go flat-out around a track, it's not racing. It might be going fast, but that only takes nerve, not skill. I have yet to see the new cars (still a very restrictive formula, with ONE chassis provider) but I'd be surprised if they put on any better competition than the old ones.
barfle wrote: What needs to be done with the cars is open up the engine specs, get rid of the wings (front and back) and make the tires about half as wide as they are now. Then the cars will take a DRIVER to race, and we'll see some competition. I've been advocating this for years, and some of the IndyCar drivers agree with me, although maybe not with the total extent of the changes. Dario Franchitti has noted that the cars need to be harder to drive, and the changes I've outlined will certainly do that.
"Terminal velocity" is for Bonneville, not Indianapolis. Please bring back the sport I love!
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