IndyCar racers using Twitter to organize?

Illustration for article titled IndyCar racers using Twitter to organize?

Following Dan Wheldon's death at the IndyCar race in Las Vegas on Sunday, his fellow drivers mourned the loss of their friend — then began to talk openly over Twitter about organizing themselves to push for safety changes.

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While the inevitable questions of how IndyCar ran open-cockpit cars on high-banked ovals, the racers concers' are broader, and reflect their knowledge the sport. IndyCar drivers formed an association last year to speak out about safety, with former series champion Tony Kanaan among its leaders, but Wheldon's death spurred several drivers to air their concerns publicly.

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Photo: Getty Images

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DISCUSSION

ash78
Ash78, just done until Kinja is fixed for good

I blame NASCAR.

No, not really, but sort of...I'm a firm believer that, in many ways, the fans of any spectator sport are ultimately the ones who decide what they want to see. If you're not happy with professional salaries, stop attending—and watching—games, and consider boycotting the major sponsors.

Our obsession with "forced" pack racing has gotten out of hand, but I fully understand that's what sells tickets and pays drivers' salaries. We love head-to-head, real-time competition, even if the skill level and athleticism demonstrated is below what it would be in an individual sport or game...why aren't decathletes paid millions of dollars a year? They're the ones who have to master 10 events at a level that's ~90% as good as any single-event specialist. Meanwhile you have NFL special teams guys who might play 2 minutes in a game, 11 times a year, earning a 7-figure salary. We crave head-to-head in our sports. I'd love to call it stupid, but it's sold tickets for a LONG time...to borrow from Simpsons, we are worse than the ancient Romans.

I'll be honest that I've never really understood Indy—you have cars that are built in a chassis form that's ideal for grip and handling (ie, road courses like Champ or F1), yet we often hurtle them around an oval like a NASCAR race. It seems silly to me. No more silly than drag racing, but silly.