It’s a scenario very familiar to race fans. Your favorite driver is in second place, and your least favorite driver has a 10-second lead and growing. Slumped into the couch, you mutter to yourself, “This sucks. We need a yellow.”
It wasn’t all that long ago that you’d be virtually guaranteed to get it. But with INDYCAR coming off two races in a row that ran green from flag to flag, expectation has been turned on its head. Can fans enjoy caution-free racing? Or is it possible that INDYCAR’s drivers have become too good for them to handle?
Fortunately, the INDYCAR fan base is largely a group that appreciates the nuances of car racing at its most pure and unadulterated. Whether a race ends under a yellow flag or after no yellows at all, the sentiment is usually the same: as long as nothing external alters the result artificially (think green-white-checkered rule), everybody’s happy.
Well, almost. There’s also the dreaded fuel mileage race – conservative driving with few attempts at passing – which satisfies the people who enjoy analyzing strategy but leaves everyone else twiddling their thumbs. But very few INDYCAR races in 2012 have fallen into this category.
On the contrary, the last two races have seen plenty of on-track action from the drivers (and, particularly in the case of Mid-Ohio, much more so than anyone could possibly have anticipated given recent history).
Plus, the DW12 has added many intriguing unknowns to the racing this year, and the possibility that a race could very easily go caution-free can be looked at as yet another item to add to that list.
As far as the existing fan base is concerned, it doesn’t get much better than watching some of the most talented drivers in the world pushing each other to their limits and keeping it clean while strategy plays out in the background.
There are precious few people saying “I only watch for the wrecks” around these parts, and that’s a very good thing. INDYCAR fans are here for great racing, and that is unquestionably what they’re getting in 2012.