Thoughts on Toronto

Sorry, loyal reader, for being late on the post. I wanted to really collect my thoughts on the race.

There has been a large amount of nay saying about the race in general. True, the track and pits looked like a junkyard when it was all said and done, but there was a fair amount of good, hard racing. The phrase that continues to pop into my head is the old adage: if you give them an inch, they will take a mile. Race control was, obviously, nonexistent. There were only a few contact penalties called and none of them were memorable, or race changing enough for them to have stuck in my brain.

We as fans have always said we need three things from race control; consistency, transparency and, to use a term that has had major play the past few days, not be wankers. Sunday, in Toronto, was the best and worst examples of these three issues we have recently seen. Race control, however, set a precedent on lap three by not penalizing Ryan Briscoe when he punted Tony Kanaan. The same scenario, in turn three, played out all day long and no one was penalized for it. We, as fans, were rewarded with daring moves that normally would not have been tried, and then yellow after yellow.

Kudos to race control on the consistency side of things. They stuck with the no call all day long and I am glad they did. Upon hearing the misinformation given to us by Versus, I was very upset that Franchitti had been given a penalty. I saw it as INDYCAR playing with the championship standings. They had not blown the whistle all day long, and then they seem to pull one out of thin air. Had this penalty actually been called, just as many people would have been complaining about the inconsistency of race control. Previous examples would have been given, and we would have yet another week of favoritism debates that so often clog the indycar airwaves.

Al Jr. went directly to the booth after the finish of the race to explain what was going on. He insisted that there was no penalty called. This was corroborated by Curt Cavin later on twitter. Cavin claimed he was listening to the officials channel and heard nothing of a penalty being given, then rescinded. Again, I have to say thank you to race control. They promptly addressed the massive confusion that was happening at the end of the race in regards to Dario’s penalty. At this point, it seems it is INDYCAR’s word against Ganassi’s. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of the problem. Having the TV announcers call a penalty that was, supposedly, never handed out is not a best case scenario. The network looks silly, credibility is compromised, and it is just another black eye INDYCAR could live without.

On the wanker subject… well not everyone is perfect.

Had Briscoe received a penalty that early in the race, I feel we would have been robbed of the amazing racing we saw. The drivers had the confidence to try a risky move that has a high percentage of turning out poorly for both parties. Without this confidence, I am sure we would have seen another street parade. The Exhibition Place track is not the best example of a street circuit. Its relatively skinny and passing room is at a premium. If the drivers were worried about being penalized all day long, the risk verse reward would me much higher. Without fear, though, they challenged for position at every corner. That is the way It should be, the drivers just need to give a little more and understand that one pass does not ruin your race.

The restarts need some work. I was under the impression that we were slowing the approach speed at the line. On Sunday, it looked and sounded like the guys and girls were juicing it coming into the final complex. It’s no wonder there were no true double file restarts when the field begins racing that far from the line. Something must be done to stop the drivers from jumping the gun.  The only problem is if there are new rules on the books, does any of us think they will be enforced? I don’t think so, but the restarts were too ugly not to say something. Race control gave the drivers some breathing room and they truly took a mile.

From my couch, the race was very good and others in TV world thought so too as ratings were up on both Verses and TSN, the Canadian channel carrying the race. After a week off, the series continues its Canadian swing with a trip to the redesigned Edmonton Airport circuit. With the added room, hopefully we can have all of the action, with many fewer crunched cars than last week.

Eric Hall

Also, I think I am abandoning the “total recall” theme for race reports. I have been getting way too much movie related traffic on those days. I like the crystal ball theme, if anyone has a good idea to compliment this for reviews, let me know.

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