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Old 2 Jun 2016, 23:48 (Ref:3646706)   #1
Purist
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IndyCar Series Race Lengths

I didn't want to derail another thread, but this has flitted in and out of my mind from time to time for a while now. I sometimes find the relative lengths for various Indy Car races (most all of them road races) to be a bit odd.

Some of them, I've specifically heard, are due to fuel windows, and trying to limit the chances of mileage runs, which goes out the window anyway with an ill-timed caution. (Honestly, they'd give a more effective impression of efficiency if they had slightly more fuel aboard, and made fewer stops as a result; it would also widen the fuel window, limiting the initial "problem".)

I also bring this up because, two road courses are being added that kind of blow things out due to their high average speeds. Unless there is a lot of caution, going just 200 miles or so at Road America or Watkins Glen is going to go by much quicker than the same distance at Mid Ohio, Barber, and especially, Sears Point.

2016 Race Lengths:
1. St. Petersburg, 110 laps (198 miles)
2. Phoenix, 250 laps (255.5 miles)
3. Long Beach, 80 laps (157.44 miles)
4. Barber, 90 laps (207 miles)
5. Indy Roval, 82 laps (199.998 miles)
6. Indianapolis, 200 laps (500 miles)
7. Belle Isle, 2x70 laps (2x164.5 miles)
8. Texas, 248 laps (368.28 miles)
9. Road America, N/A, *best guess* 50 laps (202.4 miles)
10. Iowa, 300 laps (262.5 miles)
11. Toronto, 85 laps (149.175 miles)
12. Mid Ohio, 90 laps (203.22 miles)
13. Pocono, 200 laps (500 miles)
14. Watkins Glen, 60 laps (204 miles)
15. Sears Point, 85 laps (202.725 miles)

I think you will agree that there are at least a couple of these that just seem kind of strange. Given the track type, nature, and average speed, something like this seems more sensible to me.

Proposed Race Lengths:
1. St. Petersburg, 95 laps (171 miles)
2. Phoenix, 250 laps (255.5 miles)
3. Long Beach, 85 laps (167.28 miles)
4. Barber, 88 laps (202.4 miles)
5. Indy Roval, 82 laps (199.998 miles), or 80 laps (202.72 miles) *using 2.534-mile layout*
6. Indianapolis, 200 laps (500 miles)
7. Belle Isle, 75 laps (176.25 miles)
8. Texas, 252 laps (374.22 miles)
9. Road America, 60 laps (242.88 miles)
10. Iowa, 300 laps (262.5 miles)
11. Toronto, 95 laps (166.725 miles)
12. Mid Ohio, 90 laps (203.22 miles)
13. Pocono, 200 laps (500 miles)
14. Watkins Glen, 70 laps (238 miles)
15. Sears Point, 76 laps (181.26 miles), or 81 laps (204.12 miles) *using 2.52-mile layout*

I hope I'm not totally alone in this train of thought, and this should give an idea of where I'm coming from/leaning.
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Old 3 Jun 2016, 02:23 (Ref:3646721)   #2
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Salamus should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridSalamus should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridSalamus should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridSalamus should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Just make all the races 2 hours in length, with the exception of Indy and Pocono.

You're guaranteed a 2 hour show and cautions play a little bit of a bigger factor, which makes strategy more interesting.
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Old 3 Jun 2016, 17:52 (Ref:3646928)   #3
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I didn't particularly care for that route when ChampCar did it in 2004 and 2007.

That's one area where I maybe even like having just that small measure of predictability. Also, when I was looking up the ChampCar stats last night, the 2008 Singapore GP popped into my head, which I didn't need. (I know, F1 goes by distance also, but at Singapore, they're almost always right up against it as to whether they'll get to the two-hour time limit or the 61-lap distance first.)

Also, I don't want the series botching their calculations, and not allotting enough fuel to the teams to make the distance if the race goes green for two hours.
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Old 4 Jun 2016, 09:06 (Ref:3647066)   #4
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To be honest, I've never thought about this before and gladly left this topic to the TV window experts.

Lengthening Long Beach and Toronto as you have suggested, would be a good idea, I guess.

I don't think any event needs to be shortened, especially not Barber. In past years, the best action has taken place there in the final laps so there is no need to change this winning combination.

As far as I know, Texas is a 600 km race for marketing reasons, and they are not likely to give up their "figurehead figure" either.
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Old 5 Jun 2016, 02:07 (Ref:3647286)   #5
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Texas was modified for the IRL in 1997 by widening the tri-oval with extra asphalt on the inside; this reduced the track length from 1.5 miles to 1.485 miles. So, that change was just for the purpose of correcting the race length to the actual, advertised distance of 600km.

I was sort of evening out the race distance for Barber compared to Mid Ohio. Also, I was hoping to possibly take fuel just a bit more out of the discussion for Barber.

Yeah, it can kind of give the impression that Long Beach and Toronto are in a demoted position, when they're the shortest (even street) races on the calendar by a noticeable margin.

I don't think St. Petersburg warrants such a long race, by distance, especially when comparing it to the other temporary circuits. Furthermore, it's not much faster than Long Beach, and certainly no quicker than Toronto. It's slower than Belle Isle, and speaking of which, it seemed like there was as much on-track overtaking shown today at Belle Isle (in 164.5 miles) as I saw on the coverage of this year's St. Petersburg race (covering 198 miles).

If Gateway returns, I think the old CART race distance should work alright: 236 laps (299.72 miles).
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Old 8 Jun 2016, 14:22 (Ref:3648237)   #6
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St Pete and Sonoma are a bit too long, I agree. They should be 170-180 miles.

Checking the CART stats, Watkins Glen at 200 miles is fine, but Road America should be 220 miles.
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Old 8 Jun 2016, 18:40 (Ref:3648271)   #7
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I am pleased that this series realizes that only a select few of their events need to be 500 miles or laps. Another national touring series could learn from that.

These changes look relatively minor, so makes sense to me.

Texas should have 0 miles which equals 0 kilometers, imho.
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Old 8 Jun 2016, 19:12 (Ref:3648283)   #8
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NBU38, I'm glad to have agreement on that first point.

As for Watkins Glen, the CART records, at least what I've found, are kind of useless. The 1979-80 races were on the short course. The 1981 race was on the long course, but thus far, I cannot find a record of what the fastest race lap was from that event. This is of note, because Qualifying was clearly in the wet, as the Race average speed was faster than the pole. Also, the Scheckter Chicane at the Esses (installed where Francois Cevert crashed in 1973) may have still been in use for that 1981 event.

The 2009 pole is the fastest lap modern IndyCar has put up at the Glen, a 1:28.597 (138.154-mph). That was with the old Dallara, which wasn't even designed to do road racing. The DW12 will be faster. Also, outside of serious fuel saving, race pace is faster relative to qualifying than it used to be.

Since I expect Watkins Glen to be close in speed to Road America, it just made sense to have the two run a similar race distance. And who wouldn't want a few extra laps at those two crown jewels of American road racing?

FoD79, I'm happy you're okay with the minor adjustments.

I'm not exactly thrilled with Texas myself, but I think a real, intermediate oval belongs on the IndyCar calendar. The trouble is, they've even raised the banking at one end of Kentucky, so I don't necessarily see an option out there that's "better" than Texas. Hopefully, they pin the cars down a bit more than they have been doing with the downforce level the last few times, so they can actually race each other more down there this year.

Last edited by Purist; 8 Jun 2016 at 19:21.
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Old 24 Jun 2016, 19:19 (Ref:3654931)   #9
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Well, Dixon said they turned 1:24s in testing at Watkins Glen, so as I thought, it's right up there with Road America. For reference, around the Glen (3.4 miles), a time of 1:25.000 equates to an average speed of an even 144mph.

And my guess is confirmed; the Road America race this Sunday is 50 laps.

As for Salamus' suggestion, at the sort of average speeds we saw in 1999 and 2000, the Road America race would run 68 laps in two hours (275.264 miles).
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Old 24 Aug 2017, 20:48 (Ref:3761423)   #10
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Well, for 2017, they increased Long Beach from 80 to 85 laps. Road America also was extended, from 50 to 55 laps.

I haven't heard anything, but I'm hoping they might have decided to lengthen Watkins Glen from 60 to 65 laps after the speeds seen there last year.
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