I thought we knew better. I thought, after Vegas, everyone sane agreed that we couldn’t pack race anymore. I remember Robin Miller’s articles on Speed.com and how after every 1.5 mile race in the old Dallara’s, the general feeling from the racers and teams was that bullets were dodged. I remember reading those articles prior to Dan Wheldon’s death and thinking, “what are they talking about? This is wild and exciting!” And then Vegas 2011 happens and as a fan and spectator, my entire mindset changed.
Watching Fontana wasn’t fun; it was terrifying. Every juke and dive and swerve made me gasp and flinch, out of fear. A fear that the wrong juke, or the wrong dive, or the wrong swerve might put someone into a wall, or might get a car turned and flipped in front of half a field of cars. I can’t watch Indycar racing like that. I’ve watched and cheered for these drivers too long, and grown too attached, to watch this style of racing and enjoy it. This isn’t skilled oval racing; this is crisis aversion at 210mph and above. It’s insane. Will Power said it. Tim Cindric said it. Hunter-Reay said it. Montoya said it. We don’t need this. We don’t need this sort of reckless racing.
We all know the cliches at this point: We all know racing is dangerous. And we all know that ‘this is what they sign up for’. Except it isn’t. Racing stopped being about mortal survival in the 60s and 70s. We’re beyond that. Drivers don’t sign up to play roulette on a race track. This was a gruesome, horrific accident waiting to happen. We don’t need to keep doing this until it does. We should be smarter than that, post October, 2011.