Tradition. Don't even go there.
You've probably been to the Speedway. Spent a few hours in the museum, imagining the song of your favorite racecar as it silently stared you down.
Maybe you've done a few laps in the Formula Tour Bus, and were struck with the same sense of scale that amazed me: heading into every turn, you realize just how small this place really is.
The Indianapolis 500 will never be a small deal. The heritage will grow as each new champion is crowned, and every memory adds to the palpable sense of history that grips you about half way through the tunnel.
But the tradition? As much as it gives us a sense of continuity and comfort, tradition is not getting the job done. If it was, the month of May would would take on just a little extra importance every year. The numbers in the stands and watching at home would grow for every event, just like the number of faces on the champions' trophy.
So the decision was made to take the traditions and turn them on their head. You've read the new schedule, the new points awards, the new qualifying format. You've read all the debate about the pros and cons. The feelings run deep, but the arguments miss the point. I see it a little differently: ___________________________________________________________________
You are a driver.
You have done very few laps around the Speedway in your life. Maybe none.
Or you haven’t been in an IndyCar in a year.
Now you have to get up to speed within a compressed schedule, perhaps further shortened by rain.
Wadding up a car might ruin your attempt to qualify, since the reduced schedule will leave your crew hard pressed to repair or replace your ride. Or to go through the process of dialing in the T car.
So you get up to speed, but not quite push it to ten tenths. The only time you will be hanging it out is in qualifying. Safe travels.
The fast guys will have to hang it out too. Twice. Maybe five times. The points at stake could likely determine the season championship, if the standings in recent years are any indication of what this added wrinkle will bring.
The drivers don’t care about tradition. I care about the drivers.
Let’s hope the drama IICS has created will all be positive. The pressure has been pumped up in every aspect.
It all looks to me like this is set up to get 100,000 people to attend weekend qualifying. I understand the significance of that goal, and a great crowd for pole day and bump day would bring back a little...well, tradition.
May it all work out perfectly this May.
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