INDIANAPOLIS — The finish of this year’s Indianapolis 500 has been both revered and reviled depending on who you ask.
Many fans loved the last-lap shootout that saw Marcus Ericsson get passed by Josef Newgarden in a white flag restart. Others have gone to (unfounded) extremes as far as accusing IndyCar of “rigging” the finish by waving the red flag after a crash with three laps to go.
In the end, IndyCar emphasized every effort within the rulebook to facilitate a green flag finish. Unlike NASCAR, IndyCar races can end under caution and will not exceed the advertised race distance.
For traditionalists, the Indianapolis 500, is 500 miles. No more (however, sometimes less depending on the weather). It’s that thinking that has many people against implementing a “green-white-checker” rule similar to that of NASCAR. Still, there is just as much noise from IndyCar fans who say it should be implemented in situations like what transpired at this year’s Indy 500.
“Would it be fun? Yeah. Would it be strange? Very,” said AJ Foyt Racing driver Santino Ferrucci, who finished third in this year’s Indy 500 and was mildly impacted by the decision to red-flag the race.
He believes IndyCar made the right call.
“The way that INDYCAR finished under green was 100 percent correct for the fans,” he added. “It didn’t affect anything for me.”
So when asked if IndyCar should enact a green-white-checker rule, Ferrucci was indifferent but warned it could be “dangerous.”
“I think it could also be kind of dangerous because our tires wear fast,” he said. “Every time we pull our tires when we were at the end of a stint, they were basically toast, zero wear left, almost on the cords. If you’re going on extra 10 laps per se on these old tires, you risk so much more than what the reward is.”
Ferrucci also pointed out, having experience in both IndyCar and NASCAR, that IndyCar race strategies and setups are more precisely calculated for a specific race distance than NASCAR and that an “overtime rule” would throw a monkey wrench in all that.
Ferrucci said in the end he was happy with how things turned out even though he had a great shot to win the race.
“We had so many close calls between pit lane and some of the crashes on track that at the end of the day I was just really, really happy to — I went to bed that night knowing that I did the best I could, the team did the best they could, and that’s the track.”
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