Month of May will give IndyCar the positive vibe it really needs

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There’s a distinct advantage to getting older in life. It obviously means one has been around and generally indicates they’ve seen the good and the bad in our society, let alone the world of IndyCar Racing.

Yes, my beloved sport continues to deal with a number of issues that unfortunately distract from the on-track product that, in my humble opinion, continues to be strong.

Whether it be the roll out of the Hybrid Assist System, the possible defection of Honda as an engine manufacturer, a proposed charter system for team owners, or the venue change of the highly anticipated season ending race in Nashville due to the ongoing construction of an NFL stadium, there has indeed been plenty of discussion topics related to how the NTT IndyCar Series will navigate their future development and create a healthier balance sheet as they currently negotiate a new television rights contract with NBC and FOX.

With a plate that full, one generally doesn’t need dessert, but the series l’ve loved for some fifty years now got a terrible tasting, one with the justifiable scrutiny that was placed on Team Penske recently, when it was discovered that the premier entry in the paddock had achieved an unfair advantage through the apparent manipulation of the push-to-pass feature, one that by specific design provides a temporary increase of horsepower to all the cars during specific stages of the race with the exception of the start and restarts of every event they run.

Any infraction of the rules that provides an unfair advantage is a serious matter, but when the team in question is owned by the same individual who can also list the IndyCar Series and the coveted Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his ultra impressive business portfolio,

well, the matter quickly becomes one on steroids, thereby clearly enthralling the mainstream media to exacerbate the situation with various reports and opinions as to how did this happen and who at Team Penske knew about it before the findings were then publicized. The penalties for such aside, it casts another distraction to the spirited racing and leaves even the casual IndyCar fanatic wondering how these types of things occur.

While the fallout from these recent infractions continues to unfold, the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 is now upon us and not a moment too soon for the series.

(Photo provided/IndyCar)

Rolling out the crown jewel of your schedule is a great way to put the focus on racing instead of all the infractions being imposed on Team Penske. It’s now time for the aura of the Indy 500 to take over and provide the buzz that brings people in our city and beyond together for a truly incredible event, one capable of putting the push-to-pass matter on the back burner and giving race fans a break from the important rules that were broken and provide something to cheer about again.

The Indianapolis 500 is our own here locally and provides numerous activities to allow race fans to congregate and see the various events associated with the greatest race in the world, and l truly recommend you join me in observing some of them, forgetting for now about push-to-pass type matters and enjoying yourselves.

Notes: While all three Penske drivers showed remorse for what occurred, there are still many team owners and drivers, both active and former, who aren’t buying the explanations each of them gave. Give credit to IndyCar President Jay Frye for the professional manner in which he handled this unfortunate circumstance. Integrity matters and he indeed showed a tremendous amount of resolve in this very difficult situation stemming from the St Petersburg race, one that certainly threatened the overall sportsmanship aspect as well.

Everyone has an opinion and as a result, taken their shot at various Penske officers involving the extent of their knowledge and involvement in these matters recently, and here’s mine for whatever it’s truly worth.

I believe Roger Penske, Bud Denker, Mark Miles, and Tim Cindric are all extremely high character individuals and did not know anything at all about this actually occurring in St. Petersburg. While Cindric and his team of engineers are ultimately accountable, his track record as the day-to-day leader of Team Penske’s IndyCar operations is impeccable and clearly speaks for itself, and l don’t believe he was part of any grand scheme to violate IndyCar rules, policies, procedures, etc.

In short, while no team should ever break the rules, Team Penske’s historical success says they don’t need to break them to win races.

The next event on the IndyCar Series calendar is May 11 when the Sonsio Grand Prix takes place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. For just 55 dollars, one adult and up to four children under the age of 15 can get in to the event and move freely to various seating locations. The race will be shown live locally on NBC (WTHR 13) and can also be heard on the IMS Radio Network. 

Danny Bridges, who has lived this push-to-pass ordeal for too many days now, can be reached at (317) 370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com