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  • I miss ... breakdowns?

    Crazy, right? Don’t get me wrong. I’m no old man yelling at a cloud. IndyCar is in a good place.

    I do sort of miss is it, though, when you had to worry about a car not making it to the end of the race. Added a veneer of unpredictability ... even for the dominant cars.

    Not sure when cars became so bulletproof, the 2000s probably, but the lack of DNF’s does makes races a tad more predictable.

    (Of course it also means there’s more cars on-track, which is a good thing.)

    I know this won’t change. For the economic benefits alone, car owners love the reliability. I don’t blame them.

    But I wouldn’t mind a blown engine once in a while to shake things up.

  • #2
    A blown engine in pursuit of a new speed record is a wonderful thing.
    "Loyalty to petrified opinions never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world — and never will." Mark Twain

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    • #3
      It was always intriguing in the "older days" for sure. I'm only 27 and for the majority of my life Indycars have been quite bullet proof. The last time I can really remember a ton of engines or reliability issues was 2000 CART Race at Fontana, and i do remember wondering who will be next and how many cars will be left. When watching older 500's it is fascinating to me to watch the drivers of the Buicks have to nurse their cars in order to make it to the finish as well. The 2017 Indy 500 had some reliability issues as well, and even though it took out my driver while he was in prime contention for the victory, it was fun to watch because I honestly didn't know if Sato's car would make it to the finish.

      I miss the reliability factor as well.
      World's biggest Ryan Hunter-Reay fan!

      When not discussing opinions, I try my best to only post facts, if I post something factually incorrect please correct me with a source (if possible)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by RHRfan#1 View Post
        It was always intriguing in the "older days" for sure. I'm only 27 and for the majority of my life Indycars have been quite bullet proof. The last time I can really remember a ton of engines or reliability issues was 2000 CART Race at Fontana, and i do remember wondering who will be next and how many cars will be left. When watching older 500's it is fascinating to me to watch the drivers of the Buicks have to nurse their cars in order to make it to the finish. The 2017 Indy 500 had some reliability issues as well, and even though it took out my driver while he was in prime contention for the victory, it was fun to watch because I honestly didn't know if Sato's car would make it to the finish.

        I miss the reliability factor as well.
        I was actually at that race. Took my nephew and had to have him play hookie because the race was started on Sunday, but rain delayed to Monday. I wonder how much that played into all the failures. Two round trips from Point Mugu to Fontana and back wasn't as bad back then as it sounds like it would be today.
        “America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sweaty Teddy View Post

          I was actually at that race. Took my nephew and had to have him play hookie because the race was started on Sunday, but rain delayed to Monday. I wonder how much that played into all the failures. Two round trips from Point Mugu to Fontana and back wasn't as bad back then as it sounds like it would be today.
          Sad state of affairs when finishing a rain delayed race isn’t an excused absence

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          • #6
            A lot of great moments in the 500 occurred as a result of breakdowns. The great finishes in 1987, 1989 and 1992 jump immediately to mind. If today’s cars were used then? There’s no such thing as an Andretti curse.

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            • #7
              I'm often surprised to not see more failures at the last race of the year. I would assume that they turn in engines at the end of the season, no matter the mileage, so why not turn them up a bit to try to get a win? I understand that boost pressure is restricted but I would think they could do something with fuel mapping or other things that might be harder on the engine but give more power. A team like Carlin or Foyt may be willing to risk a DNF to get increased performance at the last race.

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              • #8
                I also miss the unpredictability of cars that were pushing the limits. I've never seen a more dominating day at the 500 than than Mario in 1987. And then the car broke. If Mario were in his prime today, with today's reliable cars, he would finish his career with 100 wins.

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                • #9
                  I remember the early generation IRL engines that took a merciless hammering on the message boards as they blew up on a regular basis. Now we miss breakdowns, it's kind of funny.


                  It's 2019. Manufacturing processes have been improved over time as have quality processes. There's a lot of stuff I (we) miss that isn't coming back. It's better for our stomachs and overall health to accept and live in reality.
                  "George Bignotti's Sinmast Wildcat (Designed by Bob Riley); delicately built, carefully prepared and boldly driven by Gordon Johncock." -- Keith Jackson

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Speedbump64 View Post
                    I also miss the unpredictability of cars that were pushing the limits......
                    You nailed it right there. Nothing about Indy today pushes the limits. The engines are rev limited. The cars have downforce to the point where the drivers do nothing but steer. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has become by far the easiest track to drive on the entire circuit today.

                    Do away with mandated rev limits and take away more of the downforce and suddenly you would have teams pushing the limits of the engines as well as the skills of the drivers again. All of a sudden engine reliability would come back into play just like it did before Indy became all spec. If done properly lap speeds would remain about the same.

                    Today the 500 is more a show than an actual race that is often orchestrated by the officials when it comes to things like pit windows and fuel mileage. Again, it's all about the show today and the last thing the officials want is to have their spec engine manufacturers have anything fail.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by doug251 View Post

                      Sad state of affairs when finishing a rain delayed race isn’t an excused absence
                      Fortunately the absence had little effect on my nephew's academic career.
                      Unfortunately his academic career ended before high school did.
                      “America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Brickyard Jones View Post
                        I miss ... breakdowns?
                        That's an odd question, but, from reading your post, it appears that you do.

                        Originally posted by Brickyard Jones View Post
                        I do sort of miss is it, though, when you had to worry about a car not making it to the end of the race.
                        Agreed.

                        Originally posted by Brickyard Jones View Post
                        Not sure when cars became so bulletproof, the 2000s probably, but the lack of DNF’s does makes races a tad more predictable.
                        Yep. For far too long, in this era of spec cars powered by detuned, factory-sealed, spec engines (and where innovation is downright illegal) we have been served up the equivalent of racing toasters. Plug 'em in and watch the glow. Reliable, predictable, and utilitarian.

                        I miss the days when it was a true competition of man and machine and both were pushed to the limit in pursuit of victory.

                        "I would really like to go to NASCAR. I really enjoy NASCAR and if I could be there in a couple of years that's where I'd want to be." - Jeff Gordon (after testing a Formula Super Vee)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ThisIsRDG View Post
                          I'm often surprised to not see more failures at the last race of the year. I would assume that they turn in engines at the end of the season, no matter the mileage, so why not turn them up a bit to try to get a win? I understand that boost pressure is restricted but I would think they could do something with fuel mapping or other things that might be harder on the engine but give more power. A team like Carlin or Foyt may be willing to risk a DNF to get increased performance at the last race.
                          Turning up the wick is simply not an option for the teams. The ultimate control of what goes on with the engines rests with the engine suppliers and their trackside engineers assigned to their respective customers.

                          "I would really like to go to NASCAR. I really enjoy NASCAR and if I could be there in a couple of years that's where I'd want to be." - Jeff Gordon (after testing a Formula Super Vee)

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                          • #14
                            I feel there have too many "non-team related issues" over the last 3 years.

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                            • #15
                              I don’t have a favorite driver on the grid. This is the reason I have struggled with Indycar the last few years. Growing up, I was a Mario & Michael Andretti fan. I’ve never been a fan of any Penske driver. Probably because of their success (no fault of their own lol) Growing up in the CART days I enjoyed the cars very much. The potential break down was always the wild card. I find todays formula boring.

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