QOTD: How to Solve Racing's Aggression Problem?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

qotd how to solve racing s aggression problem

About halfway through Sunday's Indianapolis 500, I looked at the clock and thought "this thing will be over soon. I am going to have more free time today than I expected." How wrong I was.

If you watched the race, you saw it turned from a green-flag cruise into a wreck- and red-flag-filled affair that ended with a one-lap shootout. I suspect a big reason for this is that drivers were being a bit cautious early in the race, and once the first crash happened, they decided to be aggressive on restarts -- which led to more wrecks.

You could see drivers taking off "early" on the restarts. That's in quotes because, at Indy, drivers are allowed to start racing when the green flag drops -- they don't have to wait until they hit the start/finish line or some sort of restart zone. So it's legal to start racing as you come out of Turn 4.

I don't know what the best approach is here. Some folks say if a race is going to end under yellow, so be it -- and it's safer for the drivers. Others like the green/white/checker rule used by NASCAR. Others are fine with overtime -- of course, the counter-argument to that is "500 miles means 500, not more!" and that teams budget fuel and tires for 500 miles, not more. I'd point out, though, that just a few more laps would likely be doable using available fuel and tire reserves.

I initially started this QOTD as an op-ed calling out the drivers for being too cautious early and too aggressive late -- but I argued myself out of it because it makes perfect sense for drivers to follow that strategy. After all, you can't win the race if you don't finish -- but also, the race doesn't last forever, and if you're in a position to challenge for the win near the end, you have to make a move. And if that move ends up with you wrecked, well, too bad. Even if you miss out on season points, the gamble is worth it. That's true in any race -- wins aren't easy to come by -- and doubly so in the series' flagship event.

Still, the Indy 500 started to look way too much like recent Daytona 500s. And the final 25 laps seemed to take forever to run.

So, what say you? Is there a way to keep wrecks from ruining the end of races, especially major ones, while still maintaining competitive integrity and (more importantly) driver safety?

Or is this one of these things that just can't be perfected?

Sound off below.

[Image: IndyCar]

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  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Jun 01, 2023

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