Wednesday, June 6, 2012

No Aero Kits In '13? I'll Live (Probably).

There are a lot of very differing, very reasonable positions out there on the inclusion or delay of aero kits for IndyCar next year. Some want them on general principle, while for others it’s a question of momentum. Still others really don’t care, one way or the other.

I do understand where the owners are coming from in not wanting kits for next year. If you’ve budgeted a certain amount for your racing program, it really isn’t that much different than setting your family budget at home. Sure, maybe you earn enough that you’ll be able to cover when you’ve got to pay those unexpected costs, but that doesn’t mean it’s something you want to do month after month. If the car is really $150-200,000 more than anticipated, and crashes/parts are costing more than budgeted, that’s not chump change, even to the more secure owners.

For the fans, there are those that want aero kits, either because they dislike the look of the car, don’t want “spec” racing, or both, and I can sympathize—I really can. However, as I stated elsewhere yesterday, I’m also not in the habit of spending the money of others for them. If the owners say it’s a no go, and the Series doesn’t force it, then we’ll deal with the consequences. I honestly don’t see a lot of fans walking away from the sport because aero kits are not added. Would we lose momentum, especially if some owners adopted and others did not? No one can say for sure, but I think that on-track product (good racing) is more important than this, and the current configuration gives us that. At the same time, I don’t want to discount that idea (is that wishy-washy enough for you?).

I’m not sure where any of you stand on it, but honestly, I’m pretty much ok with the current configuration of the DW12. I’ve come to like the look of it (extremely racy in person!), and we’re getting great passing and competition at most tracks, despite the fact those pesky Penskes and Ganassis are reigning at the top so far (but not without some healthy competition).

At times, it’s better to focus on what you have, work on managing those expenses, before adding anything new to the mix. Since none of us have access to team financial ledgers, we can’t be sure just what the actual impact of the aero kits would be. Would we lose 4-5 cars, or would most owners find a way to make it work?

In the end, some will differ, but I’m ok with no aerokits in 2013. Yes, I want them, but if it really isn’t workable right now, then we’ve still got a very entertaining product on track. This has been a great year overall for on-track IndyCar action, and if that’s what we get in 2013, I’ll be happy.

There might not be a right answer in terms of aero kits in 2013; ultimately, it’s a wait-and-see approach to observe how the decision affects INDYCAR. For next year, my desired focus is more on adding/retaining solid events, sponsorship, and cultivating talent, along with having great racing as much as possible. I think those are all areas where the Series can make some gains; if they do so, aero kits (or lack thereof) could be forgotten in a hurry.


  1. At the end of the day, it isn't about the price of the aero kits. This is a power play by the owners plain and simple. Some teams have legitimate concerns about costs, but owners like Ganassi and Penske (and perhaps some others like Kalkhoven) would be spending the same amount of money trying to trick their cars out to be faster anyway. In the case of the two big teams, the complaining seem duplicitous and to be honest it's distasteful.

    Consider that this could be a crossroads for the sport of IndyCar racing. Ultimately, IndyCar must decide whether it wants to be a glorified spec series in which drivers are the focal point or whether it wants to focus on both technology and driving skill. Personally, my opinion is that motor sport is about both driver skill and technology. The competition to who can put together the best car is just as important to me as who the best driver is.

    1. Zachary HoughtonJune 6, 2012 at 9:10 AM

      I guess one other issue I have with it along that note is the fact we're just now hearing this from the owners. If this was an issue, why now, and why this format? It certainly gives credence to the power play theory.

      Thanks for the interesting comments!

  2. This will be two years in a row that aero kits have been delayed with the reason being costs. Not sure I completely believe it. I wish I could believe that teams and series will focus on sponsorship and strengthening events. I have a feeling teams will expect the driver to bring the extra sponsor money :( It would be great to get back to variety. I think the series needs to mandate for 2014 so they can't delay again.

    1. Zachary HoughtonJune 6, 2012 at 10:05 AM

      Well, I'm interested to see if they do go ahead and implement them in 2013, despite owner protests. I can't see the owners in solidarity refusing to use any but the Dallara kit. If they're available, they'll be used.