For IndyCar, change is a good thing

IndyCar, IndyCar commentary — By on January 24, 2013 2:41 pm

Sometimes we try things that we aren’t sure about. We dip only one foot in, just in case we need to get out quickly. We hesitate to try new things and worry about the repercussions if something doesn’t work out. Sometimes we hold back on making changes just because we aren’t sure how they will be received. We worry, almost to a fault.

To the contrary, INDYCAR has taken a no-worries approach to making changes for the 2013 season, and that is exactly the kind of approach needed to move forward.

The recent rule changes and new ideas that are being implemented for the upcoming season have already received mixed reviews. Beaux Barfield was on Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee on Tuesday night, and he shared the feelings of the owners, drivers, teams, and how they all felt about the recent changes. He was quick to bring up that he did not want to mess with tradition but realizes that new ideas are good for the sport.

Barfield said, “I embrace the diversity that is INDYCAR racing, and it is important for me on one hand to embrace the heritage but also to look at new things that we can introduce to add intrigue and challenge the competitors.”

He went on to explain how the teams within INDYCAR were reacting to the changes. He said they tell him that they may not always agree with what he’s doing but they understand he’s making efforts to move INDYCAR forward.

This is the best possible reaction from everyone.

Sometimes we feel so strongly about something that we dismiss even the idea of listening to a different concept. The situation with the proposal of installing lights at the Speedway is a prime example. Yes, IMS has been around for over a century, and anytime someone wants to make a change to the historic race there is outcry.  Many people believe lights will hurt the 500 because they will draw more attention to the NASCAR events than the Spectacle. However, the lights in theory could benefit INDYCAR by increasing revenue to IMS that can be used to fund the Series.

Standing starts, qualifying races, and double-header races are all things that have been done before, so why not embrace them? The fact is that we are going to have to wait and see how these things play out before we can accurately judge them. Some things don’t work out as planned, but others wind up going better than first imagined.

INDYCAR has also taken steps to eliminate fuel mileage racing by adjusting race distances at four events. How can anyone not be on board with that? Why does change always need to be seen as bad?

Barfield and his team have spent an incredible amount of time behind the scenes since the end of last season coming up with ways to improve and grow the sport. Everyone associated with INDYCAR needs to take a step back and recognize that those working on these changes are being proactive, which is something we all should appreciate and aspire to ourselves.

As the old saying goes, you’ll never know unless you try.

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