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Counterpoint: Should INDYCAR go to standing starts?

by
Paul Dalbey & Steph Wallcraft
| Sep 20, 2011

In Counterpoint, Paul Dalbey and Steph Wallcraft of MoreFrontWing.com face off on topics related to the IZOD IndyCar Series. Neither reviews the other's argument until after the article is compiled for posting. It's up to you to decide who's made the better case!

This week: Should the IZOD IndyCar Series use standing starts at road and street courses in 2012?

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STEPH'S POINT:

Over the weekend, Randy Bernard revealed on Twitter (yes, he now has a Twitter account -- follow him here: http://twitter.com/RBINDYCAR) that he posed the question in a meeting with the IZOD IndyCar Series drivers of whether the Series should move to standing starts on road and street courses in 2012. He reported that 16 of the 26 drivers in attendance voted in favor of the shift.

This, of course, launched another heated discussion of the topic. Opinions have long been sharply -- and roughly evenly -- divided on this one, and each side holds its ideals with passionate fervor.

For my part, I started this iteration of the debate with the same position as I always have: firmly planted on the side of retaining rolling starts. Along with others my age, I grew up watching rolling starts in Indy cars, and I've long felt that they're a uniquely American feature of Indy car racing and offer a way to differentiate it on the world stage. It would be very sad, in my opinion, for IZOD IndyCar Series starts to look the same as those of every other open-wheel racing series in the world. If people want to see standing starts, they can just watch F1, right?

But this time, my stance was rebutted with some very good, very solid counterarguments, and I was surprised to find myself convinced enough to hop the fence. Readers who have been following me for a while will appreciate how very rarely this happens, and so I feel some responsibility to share the points that swayed me in case they might convince others as well.

- First, there's no question that standing starts are just plain thrilling, especially live (something that a number of fans of open-wheel racing in America have never experienced). For every single driver on the grid, so much is at stake -- a standing start offers far greater potential to improve on a qualifying position than a rolling start does, but it also holds a much greater risk for error such as a stall or contact damage. This creates an unbelievable build-up of suspense as the engines are revved in harmony and the adrenaline starts pumping. It's truly a sight to behold. From the perspective of excitement, standing starts wouldn't take anything away from the on-track product, but they certainly could add to it, which leads into the next point...

- Rolling starts can be thrilling, too, when they're done right -- but getting them right in INDYCAR these days has been challenging. A number of tracks on the circuit are simply not well-suited to getting the entire field lined up before the green flag falls, which can lead to issues like the polesitter getting a huge run or the accordion effect that can cause drivers at the back of the field to slam into cars ahead of them because they don't have to check up as much. On top of that, Brian Barnhart told More Front Wing a few months ago that Race Control strongly prefers not to wave off starts due to safety concerns (http://morefrontwing.com/2011/04/27/barnhart-speaks-out/). The result is that race starts often look uglier than viewers at home expect, which takes a lot of the thrill out of them. Standing starts are easier to police and would solve all of these issues.

- In most other parts of the world, rolling starts are reserved for junior formulas while the higher levels of racing expect their drivers to be able to handle standing starts. If rolling starts create the perception internationally that the drivers in the American formula aren't capable of performing a top-tier skill, that's clearly not a good thing for INDYCAR's credibility.

- And expanding on that point, using standing starts on road and street courses while retaining rolling starts on ovals adds yet another dimension to the skill set required to be a successful INDYCAR driver. Standing starts require different thought processes, different sequences of actions, and different types of reactions from the drivers. We've been saying lately that INDYCAR drivers are the most diversely skilled in the world, and going to standing starts on road and street courses would only serve to support that claim.

- Finally, and perhaps most importantly, going to standing starts doesn't require INDYCAR to give anything up. We'll still see rolling starts on ovals (including the Indianapolis 500, so there's no risk of lost tradition there), and restarts will still be rolling and double-wide on all types of courses. Changing to standing starts on roads and streets truly does offer the best of both worlds.

If there's one thing that we all should have learned thus far from the Randy Bernard era of INDYCAR leadership, it's that doing something a certain way just because that's how it's always been done is a poor excuse for hindering progress. I still do feel that it will be sad to see a unique aspect of the American open-wheel racing disappear, but it's become clear to me that there are plenty of very good reasons why going to standing starts is the better option. I hope that the traditionalists are able to look at the situation objectively and see that moving to standing starts has the potential to be one positive change among many that can herald a new era for INDYCAR racing in 2012.

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PAUL'S POINT:

It's definitely frustrating (although I suppose some might say it’s exciting) to watch drivers push their cars to their limits through practice and qualifying only to see a few strong contenders eliminated by carnage in the very first turn of the race. Nobody ever wants to see that happen, especially the drivers and team members who work so hard in the days and weeks leading up to an event. Nonetheless, the teams pack up the cars, ship them off to another country, and run another event a couple of weeks later.

Oh, did you think I was talking about INDYCAR just now? Nope, I meant Formula 1 -- you know, where standing starts prevent accidents from happening in the first turn. Right...

I’ve heard a lot of justification for why INDYCAR should adopt standing starts, ranging from “it’s a safety issue” to “they are more exciting to watch” to (by far the lamest) “because the rest of the world uses standing starts.” None of these have ever been proven to me to be good reasons, and moving away from the rolling starts that Indy car racing has always used would be a sad strategy.

American-based racing has used rolling starts since Carl Fisher first introduced the practice in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911. It’s worked fine since that time with only a small percentage of races impacted by first-turn incidents. Though I don’t have the statistics available to me, my hunch and empirically based notion is that the number of starts with an accident in INDYCAR is not significantly greater than the number starts that have pile-ups in Formula 1. (I’m sure someone will quickly post supporting data on this, especially if I’m wrong.) If the statistics don't bear out much of a difference, I see no point in going down this path for the simple reason of trying something different. In a time when INDYCAR racing needs to differentiate itself from the countless other formulas throughout the world, removing a long-held part of its identity doesn't stand to reason.

There is no denying that Indy car racing has had its issues at the starts of races over the years, but the problem shouldn't be considered excessive. With the exception of the debacle at St. Petersburg this year, all road and street course races have been successfully started sans carnage this season, including at Long Beach, Toronto, Edmonton, Baltimore, and Motegi -- all of which were predicted to have turn 1 melees. You see? It can be done! It’s not the procedure nor the tracks that are the problem -- the issue lies squarely with the seat-to-steering-wheel connector.

Ultimately, cars only crash and collide because drivers try to put their cars were someone else’s already is. When the green flag flies, drivers seem to lose all sense of reason, and suddenly any pavement becomes racing pavement, leading a driver to attempt brazen, hopeless passes on five or six cars with little chance of success and massive risk of elimination. When drivers are four, five, and six cars wide trying to funnel into a turn that can barely handle two, chaos will ensue. This is exactly the genesis of the phrase, “you can’t win a race in the first turn but you can certainly lose it there.” Clearer heads and smaller eyes would go a long way toward making a lot of drivers’ races much longer.

If there were a host of good reason for implementing standing starts in INDYCAR, I would be more open to the idea, but I’ve yet to really hear of them. I don’t see them as being safer. I don’t see them having an impact on the number of first-turn accidents. And I don’t see getting rid of something that set the series apart from European road racing as a good thing. There are plenty of policies that can and should be changed during the off-season and set straight for 2012. However, the starting procedure on road and street courses is not one of them.

*

Paul Dalbey (@Fieldof33) and Steph Wallcraft (@99forever) are co-editors of MoreFrontWing.com (@MoreFrontWing), your source online for blogs, photos, podcasts and more covering the IZOD IndyCar Series and beyond. Reach them both at feedback@morefrontwing.com.

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  8. 8 John G. 01 Oct

    Steph was very objective about perspectives on IndyCar starts. A good debate that needs to be considered. Now, let's take Paul's perspective. 'Standing starts make a race more exciting...' and other such thoughts are not real thoughts. I forgot, racing is not about the fan base and make the racing exciting. Sorry Paul, I agree, it makes them no safer, nor anymore dangerous, so that may not be a valid reason, but to make the racing more exciting is an extremely valid reason.

    Second, Paul says essentially 'we have always done it this way'. So they used to race with drum brakes, no ABS, little to minimal wings so should any of those items have been added to racing? Because it has always been done that way and it is tradition, now those are invalid reasons. 


    Each weekend I get excited to watch an Indy race and then after the boring and confusion start the race turns into a train with little to no passing. Most of the time, but the 8th to 9th lap I shut it off. I am sorry to be harsh, but IndyCar needs something to make it more exciting. I never thought I would say that Formula 1 is more exciting, but it truly is from qualifying through the start and now the actual.

    I do hope IndyCar considers standing starts to make IndyCar the world class racing that it is meant to be.

  9. 9 Cliff Ellis 27 Sep

    Follow Me One????     Not!!!!!    America has kissed up to the rest of the world way to long.

    Look what it did  to the Indianapolis Grand Prix? , the only good thing out of that is Moto GP ,and now the AMLS Series.

    "No more F-1 rejects " Doesn't anyone remember  when the USAC Silver Crown was part of the Indy car circuit? 

    Who wouldn't like to see some of these Indy car " Woosies'  try their luck in one of those type of cars to call themselves National Champion??????????         "One Monkey don't stop no show"   Know what i mean Vern? "This is still "The land of the free"  is it not???     Standing starts is when you get out of bed to start the day.

     

  10. 10 Ted 26 Sep

    I'm just waiting for a real series.  You know, one that really exists.  Races on Versus are virtual only.  iRacing, maybe.   Nothing wrong with that, just isn't real racing.  Save a lot of money on engines and tires, I'm sure. 

     When IndyCar goes back to oval racing, I'll go back to attending races and paying attention.  Somebody let me know when that happens.  I may not notice on my own.

  11. 11 NMaster 25 Sep
    My point of view is pretty simple.  Every race should start in such a way that every competitor knows simultaneously when the track is green.  If you can get a rolling field in a position to see the flag when it's displayed, then that's the way to go.  If you can't, then you think about a standing start.  An in-cockpit signal doesn't cut it for me because if you can't see the flag, then you don't know what else is going on in front of you, either, and that's what causes pile-ups. 
  12. 12 Scott 24 Sep

    All serious road racing series in the world use standing starts. If IndyCar is serious, with serious drivers with talent, then it will too.

    I can't recall the last IndyCar road course rolling start that wasn't just ludicrous - usually only 2 or 3 rows get lined up, the rest are all strung out single-file, with the last place guy 1/3 of a lap or more behind from the start. "Avoiding a pile-up" should hardly be the only criterion for continuing this nonsense.

    And don't mention tradition: rolling starts are tradition in IndyCar's OVAL heritage, this has nothing to do with road courses.

    I vote for exciting spectacle over ludicrous fiasco.

  13. 13 Steve Marcus 24 Sep
    ABSOLUTELY NOT. If they do, IndyCar will become what it is already in danger of becoming: the poor step-child of F1. There is enough tradition being tossed aside in major-league auto racing around the world; IndyCar doesn't need to abandon one of the things that makes it uniquely AMERICAN. Don't get me wrong, I never agreed with the gentleman from the Defense Department about his statement concerning "old Europe." But, there are a FEW things about American auto racing that are, frankly, way ahead of the series from across the pond: rolling starts; a unique mix of mile ovals, superspeedways, natural-terrain road courses and street circuits that require a driver to be VERSATILE like Foyt, Mario Andretti and the Unsers; and Roger Penske's fabulous idea of AIR JACKS. Where are F1's comic-opera pitstops on THAT one?   NO.   LEAVE THE ROLLING STARTS ALONE, FOR GOD'S SAKE.
  14. 14 Vincent Radcliffe 24 Sep
    How about making it a conditional rule base on the track? If the track is conducive to allowing all rows on the on the same straight away with room to be aligned before the start, let them roll, and if not, make it a standing start. This would allow for some additional variety in the various tracks which, in my opinion would add to the excitement. Both ways are exciting but rolling starts are horrible where there is not sufficient room to do it right. 
  15. 15 Vincent Radcliffe 24 Sep
    How about making it a conditional rule base on the track? If the track is conducive to allowing all rows on the on the same straight away with room to be aligned before the start, let them roll, and if not, make it a standing start. This would allow for some additional variety in the various tracks which, in my opinion would add to the excitement. Both ways are exciting but rolling starts are horrible where there is not sufficient room to do it right. 
  16. 16 Randy 24 Sep

    I am a big fan of open wheel racing, Indy Cars, F1, and World of Outlaw Sprint Cars. Rolling starts and double file restarts on ovals is the way to go. There is no reason why every car in Indy Car series is not lined up in double file for the restarts, If the drivers in the World of Outlaw Sprint Car series can do it , so can the drivers in Indy Car.

    On road courses, I think standing starts would be great. On restarts on road courses, I think single file restarts is the way to go especially on street courses. It is almost impossible to get all cars lined up in double file because of the layout of the track with their tight turns.

    I think the rev limiters should be used on all restats on all races. This would keep all cars close together for the restarts. Maybe, the rev limiter could be controlled by race control to insure all cars are on and off the rev limiter at the same time.

  17. 17 Keith 24 Sep

    There is nothing wrong with flying starts if they are done right.  Nascar, Rolex, World of Outlaws and most other series seem to get it right.  Why can't IndyCar?  The start at Indy should be three abreast by eleven tight rows, nose to tail.  All other races should be two abreast by how ever many rows are needed.  The speed should be no more than the pit road limiter speed.  The formation should be done two laps before the start so that all spectators see nicely formed array of their favorite cars and drivers.  Drivers should have to stay on the rev limiter until the green is displayed, and it shouldn't be shown until the cars are 100 feet from the line. If the start is sloppy then it should be waved off and anyone who breaks the pattern should go to the back of the field for a penalty.  If the series did proper flying starts there would be a lot less call for standing starts.  In spite of this, I would like to see standing starts on road and street courses.  The same rules above could be used for all restarts.  

  18. 18 Susan 23 Sep
    I despise road/street couses.  Boring.   I buy tickets for oval races.  I fall asleep in front of the TV for road/street races.  I am also very angry at the overload of road/street races.  I love the IRL and want it to succeed but with an even balance of ovals and street/road races. And don't count street and road races as different.  With an even balance I get to watch real racing half the time and catch up on my sleep the rest of the time. Oh, by the way, I stay awake to watch the ROLLING starts for road/street races.  After the first few laps i drift off.  Maybe I wake up for the finish or if the announcers yell loud enough.  Those of you who like road/street courses should get half the races.  Oval fans should get the other half.  That is fair to both sides.
  19. 19 Bill 23 Sep

    Indy car drivers, in the CART tradition at least, have to display a pretty broad skill set to race on the variety of venues that the series uses.  Why not let the track determine the appropriate method of starting?  In fact, on the courses where there isn't room to form up between turn one and the start-finish line lets do away with the double wide restarts.    

  20. 20 Jim Bruner 23 Sep

    A standing start on all ovals, but not necessarly at the conventional start/finish line. Begin the race in a location on the track where the cars can begin the race without immediately coming to a sharp turn. I believe this would give all of the drivers a good chance to begin racing earlier and mixing it up a bit.

    On the ovals, make the start a running start, but make the drivers actually line up properly. I would suggest they start at a slower speed in a lower gear and a closer interval between each row. These drivers have gears, let them use them.

    And, on a bit different note. How about two races at Indy? The regular Indy 500 we all love so well, and a race on the road course later in the year.

  21. 21 Rob 23 Sep
    Standing Starts on Road/Street Courses.....Let em roll at INDY and the other ovals !
  22. 22 Jim Dittemore 23 Sep
    LBGP 2012 The Le Mans start will come to be known as "The Long Beach Start".
  23. 23 Jim Dittemore 23 Sep

    Standing starts would be interesting. I would like Randy et al to consider Le Mans starts. This would not only involve the fitness/skill of the driver, but a crew member to boot. I still remeber how thrilled my dad was when he did his first LeMans start in the 1969 12 Hours of Sebring. He was a very fast runner (still holds his and my high school alma mater record in the 60 yard dash-set in 1953!).

     So, racing a Pete Brock designed and Kas Kastner prepared TR-250-K w/co-driver Bob Tullius, he was able to get a bit of a head start. The car lead the prototype class until the hub sheared off late in the race.

     Can you envision the onslaught of 33 drivers running to their cars at the Indy 500 and the appointed crew member(s) waiting with baited breath for their respective drivers to arrive to fire up the cars? Wow, let's do it RB!

  24. 24 Bryan 23 Sep

    Standing starts are simply more exciting to watch. In my opinion anyway. The argument that Indycar would not loose anything, only add a skill set is a very good argument to me. There are some circuits that are not conducive to the rolling start. Use the standing start there. I like the idea of different procedures for different places. It only adds to the spectacle.I do agree the argument "it is what the rest of the world does" is not a reason to change, however.  

  25. 25 Gordon 23 Sep

    Standing starts DO:

    1. Improve safety in first turns which have looked so sloppy this year

    2. Provide a great opportunity to mix up the field right off the bat on "boring" road courses to you ovalheads...INDYCAR drivers have the most diverse skillset in the world and SHOULD DISPLAY THEM.

    3. Rolling starts this year have looked mickey mouse...standing starts clean it up

    4. This isn't your boy's IRL anymore...this is BIG BOY racing! INDYCAR...put on your BIG BOY PANTS and do standing starts.

     

  26. 26 Geno 23 Sep
    On an entirely different topic, Helio got it almost right.  Barnhart isn't a circus clown... but he IS giving them a bad name.  Replace him with somebody who actually has raced.  Someone with knowledge.  Anyone above Patrick Bedard would do.
  27. 27 Paul 23 Sep

    All good arguments for and against the various methods of beginning an Indycar race. When done properly, I like the rolling start just fine. Sadly, it's only a rare day that that happens. Japan was simply the worst race start I've ever seen. There just was not enough time after the tight last corner to allow for side by side starting. I agree with those who find a standing start exciting. I'm surprised to read Mr. Dalbey feels this view is 'lame'! My suggestion is why not tailor the starts (and restarts) to the track that's being raced. I feel Montegi would have been a great place for a standing start and the worst I'm aware of, for side by side. Also, some street courses are exceptionally difficult for two abreast starts. Why not have those races single file? Indycar prides itself on diversity of tracks, why not experiment with different starting formulas as well?

  28. 28 Geno 23 Sep

    Rolling starts might be fine if they're done right but when was the last time you saw a rolling start that shouldn't have been waved off?  If the first two rows look almost, sorta, kinda aligned the flag drops.  IndyCar has a golden opportunity to pick up some of the serious racing fans that are leaving NASCAR in droves.  The future should look bright but they need more control by indivduals that KNOW racing and not just business or pr.  So far their pr is a negative on race related decisons.  If they could have fined EVERYONE with their fingers extended like Power did they could have funded the series for the next 5 years. 

    Open wheel can come back but it needs aggressive action and standing starts is a plus.  You want REAL distinction?  Make re-starts standing, too.  Those are ALWAYS a joke.

  29. 29 Scott 23 Sep

    All serious road racing series in the world use standing starts. If IndyCar is serious, with serious drivers with talent, then it will too.

    I can't recall the last IndyCar road course rolling start that wasn't just ludicrous - usually only 2 or 3 rows get lined up, the rest are all strung out single-file, with the last place guy 1/3 of a lap or more behind from the start. "Avoiding a pile-up" should hardly be the only criterion for continuing this nonsense.

    And don't mention tradition: rolling starts are tradition in IndyCar's OVAL heritage, this has nothing to do with road courses.

    I vote for exciting spectacle over ludicrous fiasco.

  30. 30 Brittz 22 Sep

    If the drivers and race control could get a rolling start on a street course right then I'd be all for it. I don't think I've seen one done right in any of the races I've watched. What is the point of only having the first few rows lined up and everyone else single file behind that? (yes I understand that on some of the road courses it would be next to impossible to get them all lined up properly on a rolling start but if thats the case maybe do standing starts on those tracks) Standing starts eliminate that issue and also create a little more excitement. I hate watching F1 as there is next to no passing and the races are just boring in general for the most part but the one thing I like about F1 is the start. If Indycar doesn't want to go to standing starts then FIX what is happening with the starts now. It's insanely boring to watch a pole to flag race and when the pole sitters are getting a huge jump on the rest of the group thats what happens. I'm not even going to begin to comment on the double file restarts that have been a massive waste of time so far this season. So either Fix it or Change it. 

  31. 31 DeWitt 22 Sep

    Standing start on road and street, flying on Ovals.

    Rolling starts on a road or street course are just a mess. They have never been pretty, even back in the heyday. One of my biggest hopes ever since the merger has been that Indycar would adopt standing starts.

     

  32. 32 Pat W 22 Sep

    I'm from the UK and a big F1 fan so you would naturally assume I favour standing starts for IndyCar too. But.. I don't. In fact I used to and in truth if they were introduced it wouldn't bother me at all, but I do think the fact IndyCar is the only major open wheel series using them is a bonus for IndyCar, 'uniquely American' as was said above. There is a lot more skill in an IndyCar rolling start than a similar start in other US series which have the luxury of bodywork to hit, irrespective of whether the '12 car has those bumpers or not it is still an open-wheel car so still a challenge.

    No the problem here is that rolling starts aren't being done properly, whether that is intentional for safety reasons I don't know. Compare the starts at Baltimore for IndyCar and ALMS. IndyCar only had 3 or 4 rows lined up on the exit of the chicane and went green early, ALMS had the whole field lined up, skipped the chicane and went green late. ALMS looked far better. Same at Long Beach, IndyCar only got a few cars lined up and sent them away early, ALMS made sure the field kept the speed down so that more cars could get into line. This is exactly what IndyCar should be doing, not just at tricky tracks like these but at all of them.

    No. Keep the rolling starts. Just do them properly.

    Actually the CCWS starts, while pretty cool, did look pretty ugly themselves to these European eyes, with all the team technicians waving the cars to their correct spots after the pace lap, when over here every driver is expected to learn that as a basic skill in Formula Ford. (By the way I'm not sure where the assertion came from that 'around the world rolling starts are the preserve of junior series', that isn't at all true).

    If they DID come in, the series would need to be prepared for all kinds of eventualities:  jump starts (with timing technology to detect them), stalled cars (anti-stall is present in F1 and GP2, cars still stall, just the nature of them), aborted starts. I would be fine with standing starts if IndyCar was prepared to handle these eventualities but they just don't have any experience with it.

  33. 33 Mike Cockrall 22 Sep

    Chris, you hit the nail on the head, this is turning into a street/oval discussion, but you oval fans don't realize there is no way to go back to 1997 and have only ovals, the Series wouldn't last a year. Everyone is complaining about the running starts looking awful, haphazard and not fair to some of the drivers. That is exactly what happened up to 2006 in CCWS and they made some changes.

    For those of you clamoring to keep running starts on streets/roads, did you ever see a ChampCar race from 2007 when they did it. It was an overwhelming success, both from a driver standpoint as well as the fans loved the way in which the starts were actually fair for all the cars. It added a new dimension of skill needed, created a fantastic tension and nervousness at the beginning of the race, and left the calling of the start out of the starters hands in whether to wave a green or yellow for a bungled and ugly looking lineup of cars. Oh yeah, the sound of 20 plus cars revving all at once was music to my ears.

  34. 34 Mike Cockrall 22 Sep

    Chris, you hit the nail on the head, this is turning into a street/oval discussion, but you oval fans don't realize there is no way to go back to 1997 and have only ovals, the Series wouldn't last a year. Everyone is complaining about the running starts looking awful, haphazard and not fair to some of the drivers. That is exactly what happened up to 2006 in CCWS and they made some changes.

    For those of you clamoring to keep running starts on streets/roads, did you ever see a ChampCar race from 2007 when they did it. It was an overwhelming success, both from a driver standpoint as well as the fans loved the way in which the starts were actually fair for all the cars. It added a new dimension of skill needed, created a fantastic tension and nervousness at the beginning of the race, and left the calling of the start out of the starters hands in whether to wave a green or yellow for a bungled and ugly looking lineup of cars. Oh yeah, the sound of 20 plus cars revving all at once was music to my ears.

  35. 35 Indy Soup 22 Sep

    Long Beach would be the best place to give the standing starts a try. Hopefully the 2012 will have the electronic "anti stall" chip to make it safer. See how it goes and then add it to other street and road courses. 

    As for the Oval course debate, here's my 2 cents. If they are so popular and "exciting" and road courses are so "boring" (as has been stated by many) then why don't they attract as many people in attendance or viewers on TV? Indy is Indy and will always be the biggest race in the world. But most other ovals seem to lend themselves to the much bigger, heavier and slower cars in NASCAR. 

    This debate is starting to sound a little like Road & Street vs. Ovals, which is part of what split up CART in the first place. Let's not go down there again and let the market forces (paying fans) make the call. What makes IndyCar so awesome and unique is that they race on Street, Road and Oval courses, the true TriAthletes of motor racing. Besides, the race schedule changes from year to year and so will the venues. The only thing I would want to change would be to ADD more races (+3 to make it 20) in more cities, regardless of the type of track.

     

  36. 36 Steve 21 Sep
    Standing starts would be great.
  37. 37 Alex 21 Sep
    I have a great idea to settle the debate, GET RID OF ALL THE ROAD AND STREET RACES!!! Then we don't have to worry about rolling vs standing starts. If INDYCAR wants to be like F1, move over to Europe and race in that Mickey mouse series. Someone made the comment that all of the premier road racing series use standing starts, hate to tell you but ALMS, Grand Am, and LeMans all use rolling starts! Only the crazy Europeans and the lower twirling US series use a standing start. I don't see major passes during standing starts like everyone thinks will happen! Let's become the premier oval series in the world and capitalize on the NASCAR decline. We are getting a new chassis, new engines, let the cars perform like they are designed, wide open on the ovals!!!!!
  38. 38 Jason 21 Sep
    Why don't they do both?  On the courses that the distance between the final turn and the start/finish is not long enough to allow the ENTIRE field to get lined up use standing starts, where there is enough distance let them roll.
  39. 39 James 21 Sep
    I think Indycar should switch to standing starts. My roommates don't care at all about autoracing but whenever they are in the room when I'm watching an F1 race begin and they take off from the standing start, they comment on how cool it is.
  40. 40 Rick 21 Sep
    If Indy Car wants to survive they need to be more like Nascar and less like F1. No standing starts. Get rid of all the road and street courses and bring back some of the great ovals.
  41. 41 Dennis 21 Sep
    Standing starts on ROAD courses. Get rid of STREET courses. I've been to about a dozen at Long Beach, any one remember CART. Forumla Atlantic got it right, INDYCAR drivers should be better, at least as good.
  42. 42 Barry 21 Sep
    Why not give it a try?Perhaps this element will bring a new fanbase.At a time when the series is having trouble keeping people watching the races any changes should be welcomed.If the series is not willing to evolve and adapt to the ever changing world,then it will truly shrivel up and die.No one says that once a rule is made that it can't be changed;just ask Brian Barnhart. 
  43. 43 Gilingalan 21 Sep
    What is next? Standing restart? Rename the series to GP2 America or Formula 1 Lights?
  44. 44 Gilingalan 21 Sep
    What is next? Standing restart? Rename the series to GP2 America or Formula 1 Lights?
  45. 45 Fulcrum 21 Sep
    No. This is Indy Car not F-1!
  46. 46 Julie 21 Sep
    Scott - Le Mans started using rolling starts in 1971 and I consider it a SERIOUS road racing series
  47. 47 Julie 21 Sep
    Scott - Le Mans started using rolling starts in 1971 and I consider it a SERIOUS road racing series
  48. 48 Julie 21 Sep

    One of the big reasons that F1 uses standing starts has to do with the engines of the cars themselves...being too close to the car in front for too long can cause overheating and engine problems....not because they make for better starts. Another reason F1 uses the standing start is due to the higher acceleration speeds of the cars...standing starts were deemed safer for their style of car....which is different from an Indycar. 

    A lot of people keep saying that standing starts give drivers in the back more opportunity to move up....which I think is a stupid arguement. (1) Standing starts do not give everyone a better chance to be in front than rolling starts do. You still have to get past the guys in front of you cleanly. In F1, I have not seen many drivers move from the back to the front on a start...unless the people in front crash. Usually the drivers in the top 5 are still in the top 5 after the start. (2) if you want to be at the front...then qualify better.

    Another point about standing starts....how do you determine "avoidable contact" penalties. It is nearly impossible to determine what contact is caused by the chaos of the start vs. what could be intentional contact trying to knock competitors (or someone ahead of you in the points standing) out of the race.

    In my opinion...standing starts on road/street courses (especially ones that start with a tight corner) are only going to create chaos and crashes. Maybe that is what everyone wants...although I wonder after all the upcry about the crash-fest in Toronto. I personally will keep the rolling start...which is sometimes referred to as the Indianapolis Start.

  49. 49 George Bixbyess 21 Sep
    More of an F1 fan than Indycar purely because F1 is more easily accessed over here in the U.K. but that is another issue, and therefore used to standing starts.  I do love the Indycar series and feel that rolling starts on ovals is a fantastic spectacle.  However, standing starts on road and street courses does not have the same feeling, there is something wrong about it, and think these races would benefit from a standing start.
  50. 50 dave g. 21 Sep
    It would be interesting to see,Why not give it a try.And bring back michigan.
  51. 51 Scott 21 Sep

    All serious road racing series in the world use standing starts. If IndyCar is serious, with serious drivers with talent, then it will too.

    I can't recall the last IndyCar road course rolling start that wasn't just ludicrous - usually only 2 or 3 rows get lined up, the rest are all strung out single-file, with the last place guy 1/3 of a lap or more behind from the start. "Avoiding a pile-up" should hardly be the only criterion for continuing this nonsense.

    And don't mention tradition: rolling starts are tradition in IndyCar's OVAL heritage, this has nothing to do with road courses.

    I vote for exciting spectacle over ludicrous fiasco.

  52. 52 Julie 21 Sep

    Steph - you made the arguement that standing starts are easier to police and would solve all of the issues with the polesitter getting a huge run or the accordion effect. What about restarts? These same issue would exist on a restart.so...should we go to standing restarts? The restarts have been as much of a joke as the starts.

    On the ugly starts arguement...I have seen some pretty ugly standing starts in F1...there is a lot of tire rubbing, bumping, crashing and evasive driving. Most recently in the Italian GP at Monza, 4 cars near the front were taken out becuase one car near the back had issues and skidded across the grass taking them out like bowling pins. That crash also held up over half the field who got stuck by the carnage. It was ugly and ruined the race for a lot of people.

    I have to agree with Paul on this one. I like the rolling starts and think they are great to watch when they are done properly and I think it is possible to do them properly on road/street courses. It is not the courses that are the issue...it is the drivers not following procedures or trying to be too ambitious on the starts/restarts and it is usually the same drivers that can't or don't want to figure it out. If Indycar would crack down on them...even if it is a fine after the race rather than calling off the start/restart..I bet they would get it figured out pretty quick.

    Indycar has been doing rolling double-wide starts for a long time and have managed to get them right most of the time.

  53. 53 Robert 21 Sep
    No!  I enjoy the rolling starts more.  Standing starts are something for Formula 1, so we need to differentiate between the two series.  I wish they would bunch them up more.  Whatever happened to not accelerating until 100 yards before the start/finish line?  They have done away with that, and I think that is a mistake.
  54. 54 Wellington Costa 21 Sep
    I am against the standing start in the IndyCar. I myself only like to seestanding start in F1. I wonder what the area will be dropped if there is static on the Sao Paulo Indy 300 or the Baltimore Grand Prixwhere all drivers will come with everything in the first curve that isdangerous. Imagine if it rains and the Race Control of proof to solvethe standing start in the rain.
  55. 55 Ramon 21 Sep
    Standing starts = YES
  56. 56 Scott 21 Sep

    All serious road racing series in the world use standing starts. If IndyCar is serious, with serious drivers with talent, then it will too.

    I can't recall the last IndyCar road course rolling start that wasn't just ludicrous - usually only 2 or 3 rows get lined up, the rest are all strung out single-file, with the last place guy 1/3 of a lap or more behind from the start. "Avoiding a pile-up" should hardly be the only criterion for continuing this nonsense.

    And don't mention tradition: rolling starts are tradition in IndyCar's OVAL heritage, this has nothing to do with road courses.

    I vote for exciting spectacle over ludicrous fiasco.

  57. 57 Brett 21 Sep

    It would be nice if we had data on standing starts in American open wheel racing to see how well it played over here.  Oh wait we do!  CART moved to standing start ... CART died!  Must not be a very good idea then.  I don't understand why IndyCar wins the "war" over CART then goes and does everything it can to become CART!  I am a long time IndyCar fan I can say I am just about as excited now as I was to watch CART races back during the split. (Yes I watch both even though I was die hard IndyCar.)  Sometimes they can put on a decent race on an oval, but even that is few and far between, and road/street races have some moments but overall it more like NASCAR in that you are just waiting for the wrecks.

     As for the augment that standing starts are safer why down you ask Donald Davidson why the Indy 500 started with a rolling start in 1911 (it was because this was deemed a safer way to start a race)!

  58. 58 Chad 21 Sep
    Standing starts all the way!!  As others have pointed out it's painful to watch the first few rows take a green flag while cars in the back are still taking the final corner at 50 mph.  Much more fair for everyone involved if Indycar goes to standing starts for road/street courses in 2012. 
  59. 59 Jim D 21 Sep
    Mike C, Thanks for the video! WILD start for sure.
  60. 60 Freddie 21 Sep

    Yup standing starts would be great

  61. 61 Jim D 21 Sep

    Steph, I am in your court. While I believe rolling starts are traditionally an American thing, there is too many positive points to deny standing starts are better for street and road courses. And Paul, being "lame" is a poor argument against standing starts-you really couldn't come up with anything, could you! :~)  In keeping with Randy Bernard's marketing point about Indycar drivers being the most versatile drivers in the world, for that reason alone it makes sense to change. And for the fans, how many of us remember most, finishes or starts? I'd wager starts, since there's so much anticipation build up. If so standing starts is a great marketing point and seat seller for a promoter.

    Mark another vote for standing starts. (Intriguing thought, could you imagine a standing start on an oval?)

  62. 62 Kelly Kostick 21 Sep
    I'm all for it. Rolling starts are great for the first three rows and seeing the rest stretched out rag tag for half a mile looks bush league and its simply not fair as was the case throughout the year. I would be ticked if I qualified 10th and see the front three rows get the green flag while I was still waiting to take the final turn onto the front stretch. It looks better, its fairer and if Indycar wants to increase viewership and excitement it needs to have this in its repertoire.
  63. 63 Mary Haverly 21 Sep

    Why is IndyCar continuing to try to be like everyone else?  IndyCar needs to stand out and be separate from the massees.  I've seen both standing starts and rolling starts.  By far, I think the rolling starts are so much more exciting.  Cars up to speed and jockeying for position before the first turn is extremely exciting.  There is so much for the drivers to process (their car, other cars, making the turn, maintaining or imporving position to name just a few thoughts) in order to get through this portion of the race.  Spectators already get to see the cars all lined up on the grid at the start of the race - they all rev/start their engines when the command is given.

    As for position changes on road courses...these cars need wider tracks to allow for more areas to safely pass.  Wider tracks would allow the cars to run at the speeds they were built for.  It would also allow for faster speeds, side by side racing and space for manueverability through turns or at least the option to overtake someone on a turn.  Lets not limit these machines and their drivers, let's let them run wide open and really put on a show.  IndyCar has already started to have more road/street courses than  ovals and I know it has lost fans (some are friends and family of mine).  6 ovals and 11 road/street courses?! 

    It's a great product (drivers, cars, speed, tradition)....use what you have and make it great!!  When you start to look like everyone else, you loose that part of you that's you.  Stand out and be unique IndyCar.  I'm a huge IndyCar fan and only want the best for the sport so that it continues.

  64. 64 Eli 21 Sep
    Retaining rolling starts  by & large keeps a 'uniqueness'  in the open wheel world. Only a tiny handful of ladder series around the globe have adopted this format, as standing starts are the 'norm'. Personally I like the rollers,when done right!  I vote for retention. Let's not give the 'old school' whingers something else to whine about, as you know they'll  use the predictable clutching at straws mantra that  because champ car used  S/S then it is bound to fail! Lets keep some 'traditions' to pacify ;)  
  65. 65 Chris 21 Sep

    Absolutely on all road and street courses!  How else are the drivers going to get lined up 2x2.  It would be so much more exciting!!!!

  66. 66 Dave 21 Sep
    As long as the clown is in charge of race control (and possibly even after), I think standing starts are the way to go. It gives everyone a more equal chance than the rolling starts that have been reduced to jokes the last few races. And, like Mike said, Champ Car did great with the standing starts in 2007. I think it'd be a huge improvement and would make the first few laps much more interesting.
  67. 67 Stuart Mills 21 Sep

    Absolutely, standing starts are a must.

     

  68. 68 John 21 Sep

    Would love to see standing starts again in Indy racing ... but I would add that the cars should be equipped with starter motors as well. This way if they stall on the grid they don't have to abort the start. It might also help to alleviate some yellow flags during the races.

  69. 69 Mike Cockrall 20 Sep

    As someone who witnessed ChampCar do the standing starts in 2007, it was simply amazing to see the cars all lined up, the 25th place starter only 500 feet away from the pole sitter, listening to 25 cars all revving at the same time and then BLAST out once the green was shown. It was much better than watching single file (or double file, for that matter) rolling starts on straightaways that couldn't get all of the cars lined up for a fair start. And that what it is, completely fair, all of the drivers in exactly the spot they qualified in, no complaints, no wave off's, no extra laps to get the race started.

    It simply made all of hairs on my neck stand up. The comments from just about everyone I talked to about them, were in favor and that it made it more exciting than seeing it take 40 seconds for all of the cars to go across the start finish line at the beginning of the race.


    Just have a look http://youtu.be/gYdtKjFVtT4

    If IndyCar has the most versatile drivers, then standing starts have to be included for the street and road courses, rolling for the ovals. Who knows, it might even entice a few F1 drivers to give it a try, if they have the kahuna's.


  70. 70 Steph 20 Sep
    Thanks Brad, but I think you meant you hate to rain on Paul's parade, right? ;)
  71. 71 Steph 20 Sep
    Thanks Brad, but I think you meant you hate to rain on Paul's parade, right? ;)
  72. 72 Brad 20 Sep
    Steph I hate to rain on your parade, but I am very much in favor of the standing starts. As a point of reference I am 52 and remember dancing around my living room cheering when AJ won his fourth. So that age argument just does not hold any water with me. I believe standing starts would add another element of excitement and would end some of the "pole to flag" runs we see.

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