LONG POND, PA – I initially was a staunch supporter of the NTT IndyCar Series going back to the Pocono Raceway when they did in 2013. I wasn’t old enough at the time to know the full extent of why the series stopped going to the Tricky Triangle from 1990-2012 but was glad at the time that they finally made it work. .
Seven year later, I think that the race has run its course and it’s time to move on.
I am always a proponent of ovals and had always wanted to see the series go back to Pocono but it’s time to get away from the Pennsylvania race track quickly. I’m glad they made it work for seven years but I’m afraid what year No. 8 would look like.
This track frightens me beyond belief. I get a sick feeling now before the drivers strap in because I know for whatever reason there’s a higher chance here that possibly one of them doesn’t make it back safely.
That’s saying something.
I get that the same risk is at hand each time a race car driver straps him or herself into a car for each session around the world, but for some reason, Pocono seems like it’s the most dangerous track for IndyCar at the moment.
I didn’t use to think that way but the last two years swayed me.
Not to sound insensitive and please don’t take it this way, but I felt like Justin Wilson’s tragic incident in 2015 was just bad luck. It had nothing to do with the racing product itself, just a fluke situation.
Then, Robert Wickens’ crashed happened last year. That started to sway my mind against the series racing on the Tricky Triangle. Now, on Lap 1 of Sunday’s race, my mind is made up, it’s time to let this contract run out and not renew it.
Here's how drivers saw the Lap 1 incident at @PoconoRaceway. #ABCSupply500 // #INDYCAR pic.twitter.com/Kv4C25557p — NTT IndyCar Series (@IndyCar) August 18, 2019
I came into the weekend torn about if I really wanted the series to come to an agreement about coming back for 2020. I don’t want to sound soft and I do think danger sells, but this track feels like we’re tempting fate and too much danger. Someone is going to be killed soon if we keep doing this.
“It’s such a waste of time and money for everyone to come out here and we tear up the cars in the fence in Turn 2,” said James Hinchcliffe.
He’s not wrong.
How many times do we have to go through the same situation before we can all accept that an IndyCar should not race at Pocono. It’s just a toxic relationship and maybe it’s time to consider a divorce. I’m very relieved (to my knowledge) that everyone is okay from that scary crash — Robert Wickens (@robertwickens) August 18, 2019
Last year, it was Lap 6 for Wickens’ frightening crash. This year, it was the opening lap. When you only have barely over 20 cars coming to race a 500 mile event on a 2.5-mile track, when you lose so many cars early on in the race to violent accidents, when is enough just that enough? Why watch 15 cars race for 490 miles? The racing after these incidents is just them trying to get by without any further harm. Watching cars get airborne freakishly isn’t fun. Neither is spread out trying to get by either.
What is the gain in coming back.com Seriously? What about the last two years was fun to watch?
I get that some people will point to lack of practice time or lack of intelligence by drivers but it’s not just that, it’s the way that these cars are crashing. They can’t keep getting airborne.
I have a theory on what makes Pocono so dangerous too.
This track is big and wide in portions. Speeds are in excess of 215 mph. The cars are hard to pass when they get spread out. So, the drivers have to make dangerous moves at time to gain positions on track. The Tunnel Turn (Turn 2) goes from a wide fast straighaway between Turn 1 and Turn 2 to a flat corner at entry. If you get aggressive going into that turn, chaos could happen.
Wickens’ crash last year was a byproduct of a little too much aggression. Sunday’s crash with Takuma Sato was way too aggressive as well. Sato, made a move at a point of the race that wasn’t needed. But, with the field packed up and these cars being tough to pass on, moves like that are needed.
It’s going to happen again. Someone is going to make a move because they feel like they have to in order to gain track position. It’s going to be when the field is packed up and someone is going to get airborne.
That’s why I feel like nothing is going to change for the future. The drivers have spoken and the last two years have shown, it’s time to leave tonight and never come back.