NASCAR at Indy: Here’s Rubber in F1’s Eye!

Adam AmickSenior Writer IJuly 30, 2008

It’s not that I have a personal vendetta against Formula 1. 

It’s that F1 is full of itself. 

The “pinnacle” of auto racing on Planet Earth was once again shown up by the good ol’ boys of NASCAR this past Sunday when all 43 competitors who started engines at the Brickyard 400 actually took the green flag and raced off into the unknown. 

It wasn’t pretty, mind you, but compared to the 2005 U.S. Formula 1 Grand Prix, the men were separated from the boys. 

NASCAR knew there were wear issues with the new cars and tire compound brought by Goodyear. F1 teams knew there were wear issues with the tires brought by Michelin in 2005. 

The difference? NASCAR found a way to deal with it and put on a race. 

Formula 1 watched as the majority of the field pulled the ejection handles and bailed out before the green flag flew. 

Mind you, the drivers in Sunday’s Brickyard weren’t able to push their vehicles to the limits—or wisely chose not to. Several suffered tire failures that effectively took them out of the running, and may have dampened their chances of making the 12-man Chase for the Sprint Cup. 

But as Freddie Mercury once sang, “The show must go on.” 

NASCAR found a way to make it go on. They threw competition cautions every dozen laps to slow the field and allow the teams to pit for fresh rubber prior to complete failure. 

I’ll say this. After the first four or six, perhaps even eight, times I had the distinct impression that the most you were going to get from a new set of sticker Goodyears was a dozen laps—30 miles. 

“Canada, where is it?” Our cover story this month in Duh! Magazine

I got it, they got it, and so NASCAR could have let them figure it out from there. But they put safety first, and really can’t be faulted for that. 

Formula 1 was presented with the idea of creating a chicane to break up what is the longest full-power run on the schedule…er, was on the schedule. 

Smell dead horse, anyone? 

Regardless, I find it amusing that NASCAR can sit its drivers down and give them the “Shut up and drive!” but F1 can’t get half as many in line. 

For the Formula 1 lemmings who may counter with, “They only ran 12 laps under green at a time!” I have this to offer: they still ran. 

Run, Forrest, run! 

It was effectively a series of sprint races from caution to caution, but NASCAR made it happen. Everyone was able to walk away with, at most, some crumpled sheet metal from the couple of failures that occurred (and Matt Kenseth’s crew got him back in the race after the right rear was torn apart on his car). 

Heck, last place paid over $140,000. That’s what the winner makes on some weekends. 

Wait! Is that a rumor of another IndyCar driver wanting to come to NASCAR I hear? 

But I digress. 

Formula 1 watched the masses parade out the gates, and six cars ran the Ferrari Show starring Michael Schumacher. 

Can you say, “Refund, please”? 

Again I laugh at the superiority complex that Formula 1 proudly bears. A few weeks ago it was oil on the track that the world’s best couldn’t avoid and the champagne sippers couldn’t figure out how to manage before someone wrecked. 

Lucky for us NASCAR actually got something right. And I for one applaud the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for standing up and saying, “Not my problem!” 

NASCAR has screwed the pooch from day one on how testing should be conducted with the new car. Regardless of what the teams said or requested, every team should have tested at all the tracks that the COT didn’t run on last year. Period, paragraph, end of story.

Goodyear would have known of the wear issue prior to race weekend, and had the opportunity to adjust the tire compound accordingly. 

Mr. Helton, Eddie Gossage on line 1. He’s offering up Texas Motor Speedway for testing before the race there...We’re not interested? Oh, thanks anyway, Eddie. 

NASCAR’s new cars are right-side heavy, and this showed through like the cords did as rubber came off of cars following a dozen laps at Indy this past Sunday. 

I would suggest at times the management of both NASCAR and Formula 1 are top-heavy…though that could be seen as a favorable position by Max Mosely.

But NASCAR found a way to make a race happen, and the distance between first and second (third and forth, fifth and sixth), mere car lengths, gave the fans their money’s worth at The Brickyard.

Ultimately the best car on the weekend won the race. Congrats, Jimmie! 

Formula 1 really needs to find a way to take notes and show that they’re capable of making decisions that are worthy of the “pinnacle” moniker.

Otherwise? Here’s rubber in your eye, F1.

Somebody please ‘splain that to me.