SBD/Issue 195/Leagues & Governing Bodies

IndyCar Series To Look At Lack Of Passing After Race "Procession"

Dixon Apologizes For Overall Lack
Of Passing In SunTrust Indy Challenge
IndyCar driver Scott Dixon, who won Saturday night's SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond Int'l Raceway (RIR), was "apologetic" after winning the race, as the series seems to "resemble NASCAR more and more" due to a lack of passing, according to Gary Graves of USA TODAY. Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Hideki Mutoh were the only drivers to lead the 300-lap event. Dixon said, "It was a bit of a procession, unfortunately. It was very tough to pass because of the track. I think it's just the last couple of years we've slipped into a car that is not enabling a whole lot of passing." IRL VP/PR John Griffin indicated that the league's "chassis and setup package ... has leveled competition in terms of passing." He said that the series "is considering changes to enhance competition that could be in place before season's end" (USA TODAY, 6/29). Dixon: "Once you got to lapped traffic it was very hard to pass. It was a frustrating night" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 6/28). The AP's Hank Kurz Jr. wrote the "lack of passing made it more closely resemble a parade." Franchitti said it was an "awful, awful race." RIR President Doug Fritz "did nothing to mask his disappointment with a race that was missing what fans come to see." Fritz: "I wish we had seen more passing and more lead changes and more side by side racing." Kurz noted IndyCar Series and ISC officials will meet tomorrow "to continue discussions about whether the series will return" to RIR in '10 (AP, 6/28).

SPEED HUMP: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin discussed the speculation surrounding former SMI President & CEO Humpy Wheeler's The Wheeler Company possibly offering marketing support to the series. Cavin: "His company could certainly take a different look at the IndyCar Series, but I wouldn't want it in a decision-making role. The good thing is, I don't think the board members will relinquish control to an outsider again" (INDYSTAR.com, 6/27).

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