are you an f1 fan? are you tired of petty squabbling, f1 politics, and the clownery of the fia? hoooooooh boy do i have a series for you >:)
if i've been on your dash before, hello again! if you're new here, welcome! i'm here to introduce you to the wonderful world of indycar. here's just a few reasons to check it out:
1. competition is always tight. the racing is close and the championship battle always comes down to the season finale, without the need for gimmicks or ruling changes. last season the first 7 races saw 7 unique winners, with the season overall seeing 9 unique winners. the most wins any driver had was 3, and the championship winner (alex palou) only had 2.
2. you can end up hip-checking someone or go flying through the air and still win the race. with the limited difference in technology between the most successful and the just-starting-out teams, anyone has a chance to do well! (see: marcus ericsson's win in nashville last season, shown above)
3. variety of race tracks. in indycar, a jack of all trades is better than a master of one. to do well in the championship, you have to be able to race on road, street, and oval tracks. it takes a different skill set for each. and because the technology is shared throughout the paddock, a driver's ability to win is based more on their ability to drive the car.
4. straightforward regulations and consequences for breaking the rules. there is no petitioning race control, no bargaining, and no bullshit! the 75 page indycar rulebook lists the technical and sporting regulations with specific penalties for violations. example: if a car causes a red condition in qualifying, they are disqualified from further sessions, and their best two lap times are deleted. (a breakdown of the basic rules can be found in my INDYCAR 101 post)
5. friendliness and sportsmanship is highly valued. aside from one notable exception (f*rrucci), the indycar paddock is respectful to each other off track. incidents on-track are generally kept on-track. its something visiting drivers often note when they come to test an indycar or attempt the indy 500 (see: fernando alonso 2017 and 2020)
bonus round: those sexy pace cars. need i say more? (disclaimer: these are last season's pace cars, the civic type r is redesigned this year and will be equally as sexy)
some frequently discussed arguments:
i don't like ovals. ok, you don't have to watch ovals. sure, you'll miss out on some incredible racing but everyone has their own preferences and tastes. there are only 5 ovals on the schedule this year: texas, the indy 500, iowa x 2, and gateway, so you won't be missing many races if you do decide to skip.
ovals are too dangerous. its motorsports, its all dangerous. not to beat around a dead bush but recently we've seen some scary and life-threatening incidents in other forms of motorsport on tracks that are not ovals. indycar has developed safety measures to help reduce the risk to driver's lives for all kinds of circuits. the aeroscreen has proven its worth several times since it was implemented in 2020, and safer-barrier was developed in 1998 to mitigate the impact drivers experience when hitting a wall. not to mention the cars are designed with a special safety cell to protect the driver while the rest of the car crumples to mitigate the force of impact.
[driver i don't like] is in indycar. you know you are allowed to root against people, right? thats how being a sports fan works. everyone has drivers they don't like, and sometimes its just as fun to root against drivers as it is to root for them. plus, you may find by watching that there are drivers you do like in indycar that you can root for, while rooting against the ones you don't.
i'll only watch f1, its called the pinnacle of motorsport for a reason. thats ok, you're entitled to your own opinion. i will encourage you to branch out and try watching a couple of races. if its not your cup of tea, then at least you can say you tried! indycar is the highest form of open wheel racing in north america and a top-level motorsport in its own right. if you like f1, you'll most likely enjoy indycar as well.
indycar is a cheap series. just because the teams don't spend billions of dollars trying to out-technology each other doesn't mean the series is poor. its because the teams only have to have the money to buy the chassis, engines, parts, and pay the drivers' contracts and team members wages, that there can be more teams and drivers entering the series. and with the number of motorsport stars from other series coming to test recently, more entries is a good thing.
the cars are all the same. yes and no. the chassis of the car is the same for all teams, but each team selects their own engine manufacturer and has the freedom to set up their car however they'd like (within the rules of course). because the teams all share the same chassis, competition becomes that much tighter and the success of a driver and team becomes more reliant on a driver's natural driving ability and the teams ability to set up their car to best match the circuit.
i don't know any of the drivers. that's ok! i'll be coming out with a brief overview of the drivers in the 2022 season soon, so stay tuned for that! it will be a slideshow with pictures of each driver and a short description.
i don't live in the us and don't know where to watch. if you're willing to spend money, you can access indycar through Peacock, nbc's streaming service. however, if you're like me and don't want to spend money on yet another streaming service, you can check indycar's list of international broadcasters for the broadcast in your area (link here). r/motorsportsstreams will have stream links listed once they become available during the season, and this is also the best way to access practice and qualifying sessions without having to go through Peacock.
i don't know anyone else that watches indycar. you've come to the right place. myself, @penske-slut, @kenroczen, and @pensdanton run the INDYBLR discord server where we talk about all things indycar! every week (or every other week, still working that out) we host a race rewind during the offseason, where we vote on a race to re-watch (2019 season and older). here is the invite link if you would like to join! make sure to read the rules and introduce yourself in introductions!
when is the first race? the season kicks off February 25-27 at the Streets of St. Petersburg! times are still TBD at this point, but will be posted as soon as they are made available. i hope to see all of you watching!