The RACER Mailbag, June 22
Welcome to the RACER Mailbag. Questions for any of RACER’s writers may be despatched to firstname.lastname@example.org. As a result of excessive quantity of questions obtained, we are able to’t assure that each letter will likely be revealed, however we’ll reply as many as we are able to. Revealed questions could also be edited for size and readability. Questions obtained after 3pm ET every Monday will seem the next week.
* Be aware: We needed to transfer the cutoff time for questions up this week, however any submissions that missed the reduce are within the pool for subsequent week’s Mailbag – MG
Q: Any probability of bringing again the LED place indicator panels? I discovered this very useful when at a race and never gaining access to the tv protection. And talking of LEDs, do you bear in mind one of many previous CART groups (Newman/Haas, I feel) had LED promoting throughout the automotive’s rims? I attempt to inform individuals about this and so they have a look at me like I’m loopy.
Buffalo Payments (and Indycar) fan
MARSHALL PRUETT: I’ve requested IndyCar president Jay Frye about this, and he stated it’s one thing they may contemplate with the brand new automotive. IndyCar genuinely preferred the panels, however the transfer to a smaller and extra feature-rich second-generation mannequin proved to be a continuing downside. I might like to see the collection put out a bid for one thing new and totally different — how a few full OLED panel that reveals automotive place, serves adverts, and reveals team-selected -s — throughout the race?
Q: I notice that Devlin DeFrancesco is a rookie in IndyCar and that rookies make errors. That being stated, he’s made just a few enemies together with Will Energy, who desires IndyCar to park him for awhile. We’re used to Energy sounding off, however do you assume he’s proper in his evaluation? How does the remainder of the paddock really feel about DeFrancesco? Whereas I take discussion board posts with a grain of salt there appear to be loads of individuals who assume that each he and Dalton Kellett shouldn’t be within the collection. I don’t assume that’s too truthful with Kellett, however he does have plenty of one-car off-track incidents.
MP: Will Energy had each proper to be indignant. Devlin’s nerf-from-behind was inartful, at finest. Energy had a horrible time in qualifying and was buried behind the pack, and this actual situation — getting knocked about by drivers the (now former) championship chief hardly ever encounters – was the large concern. I’d say that if this was DeFrancesco’s first massive mistake of the yr Energy could be simply as indignant, nevertheless it wouldn’t enterprise past that anger — no threats of retaliation, and many others. The truth that Devlin’s Texas mistake was sitting there over the plate for Energy to swing on and knock out of the park is the place his condemnation was made simple.
As for the oldsters who say Devlin and Dalton don’t belong, it’s nothing new. The identical factor’s been stated for many years throughout all types of racing. It’s the laziest take to make. Each sport has its highest achievers and its lowest achievers; the frequent thread is that they’re all within the high one-percent on the planet of their career. There’s all the time going to be somebody — or a small cluster — of those that often run final, and so they catch hell from followers. Meh.
Two different issues get forgotten. The primary is how the cash introduced by the DeFrancescos, Kelletts, Latifis, Strolls and so forth, are what place or hold groups on monitor and make use of tens to a whole bunch of individuals. The second is that if a staff had the finances to rent a greater driver it might, however in most of those circumstances, it’s a scenario the place the staff wants the cash and whomever is within the automotive is the most suitable choice it might discover. However these are nuanced issues, and nuance isn’t concerned within the ‘they don’t belong right here’ feedback.
Q: Will Energy, speaking about Devlin being parked, must take a tough have a look at himself. He crashed out his teammate at Nashville, and there are many different instances he’s taken out different racers with boneheaded strikes. Iowa 2011 in pit lane involves thoughts.
MP: Thanks, however none of these previous situations matter or have any bearing on what’s happening in 2022. By no means understood the ‘You hit individuals earlier than, so that you shouldn’t complain about being hit’ line of considering. I rear-ended somebody at a cease gentle many moons in the past in my previous 250,000-mile Volvo From Hell, so if I perceive this appropriately, if I get hit from behind by somebody as we speak, I’m supposed to simply sit there with no anger and nothing to say as a result of I as soon as rear-ended a automotive? Who on earth would maintain themselves to that unrealistic commonplace? And if none of us would behave that means, why would we anticipate racing drivers to be any totally different?
Within the context of a rookie taking out a veteran at Highway America and veterans — plural — at Texas, it’s not precisely a shock to listen to Energy drop the hammer on Devlin. The hope could be for DeFrancesco to take the warmth and put extra thought into his racecraft and get by way of the remainder of the yr with out incomes a 3rd strike.
Q: Whereas trying on-line at older Indy vehicles throughout a lull in enterprise, I got here throughout the BLAT Eagle once more, Dan Gurney’s 1980-81 Eagle. I knew about this Eagle however I might by no means determine the way it stayed on the bottom, as a result of it both had no wing or only a tiny rear wing, and no skirted aspect pods. It was fairly totally different for its time. Nothing just like the F1 Lotus 78 or the ‘Yellow Submarine’ Penske.
So I began digging into the BLAT idea – Boundary Layer Adhesion Expertise – and located it fairly mysterious, till a blogger I learn talked about that the Eagle was just like present F1 vehicles in that air entered by way of two small areas behind the entrance tires and near the bodywork, after which ran by way of two tunnels beneath the chassis, across the drivers compartment and the engine compartment, to exit beneath a really giant diffuser. These channels grew bigger as they ran from the center of the chassis to the rear of the automotive.
Was Dan Gurney forward of his time? Is that this what present F1 vehicles are utilizing?
MP: Hello Sean, if we’re giving credit score, it goes to Lotus and 1978’s 79 chassis (additionally, the yellow submarine was a Chaparral Racing product, not Penske) for utilizing the perimeters and rear of an open-wheel automotive to generate loopy downforce with giant and lengthy wing profiles constructed into the sidepods. All American Racers’ 1981 Eagle Indy automotive chassis took the Lotus 79’s floor results idea in a completely totally different path, nevertheless it was the identical common precept of using the perimeters and rear of the automotive to make massive downforce.
The place BLAT was an development was within the elimination of a lot of the sidepods — making a smaller and narrower form to chop by way of the air — as Dan and John Ward, the automotive’s designer, sought to take advantage of the decrease value/decrease weight choice within the guidelines for stock-block non-turbo V8 engines.
One of the best factor to know in regards to the Eagle and its BLAT innovation is the entire thing got here from an enormous lack of finances. AAR had no actual sponsors on the time, couldn’t afford the standard-setting Cosworth DFX turbo V8s, and needed to go to the alternate method the place overcoming the dearth of horsepower by way of a radical strategy to the chassis was a necessity. That’s why we’ve got this arrow-like automotive that stood out visually and in its performances. Right now’s F1 vehicles are direct descendants of the Lotus 79, not the Eagle.