IndyCar enhancing race control

Robert Laberge

IndyCar has strengthened race control with the addition of numerous widescreen, high-definition monitors and next-generation replay technology for use during race events.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- In an effort to make more accurate calls during events moving forward, the IndyCar Series has announced upgrades to the equipment in race control including a mobile unit that will debut in advance of the 2015 season.

The roving race control unit will be housed in a single transporter designed to travel across the country from event-to-event.

The current tower configuration for 2014 will also receive numerous enhancements, according to IndyCar Director of Competition Derrick Walker. Race Director Beaux Barfield and company will receive additional cameras, monitors and enhanced replay technology because preexisting television angles do not always tell the full story.

"(Television) is looking to entertain; we're looking to see what's going on," Walker said during the annual IndyCar media day event on Tuesday afternoon. "If (the cameraman) spins off into the grandstand, he sees a nice-looking girl in the grandstand, it's great for the TV and the fans but we're looking for something coming up, but instead we're looking at a pretty girl in the stands.

"When it comes down to managing the show, we need to have our own cameras."

The changes were necessitated, Walker conceded, from IndyCar sometimes making an incorrect call or ill-advised penalty due to the lack of information available in the heat of the moment. Walker admitted that the Series is too-often relying on spotters on the roof or officials in the booth that couldn't spot debris or accidents.

The new technology will essentially widen the scope of the officials' decision-making abilities.

"We've got a good group at IndyCar," Walker said of his cohorts. "I don't think they've always had management that supported them and gave them the tools they need to get better. Budgets have been tight.  We haven't spent the money on some of the things we could have done over the years.

"But I think we've got a good nucleus there.  I think we just need to keep adding to it and tuning it up. The procedures, how we look at penalties, how we judge them, how consistent are we. All those are well within our capability with the group we have now."

New Indianapolis 500 qualifying procedure a few weeks out

Walker also addressed the new rumored qualifying procedure for the Indianapolis 500. The format is expected to remain a two-day show but the pole will likely shift to Sunday instead of Saturday as has been the case in recent seasons.

Walker and his staff at the IndyCar Series hope to send their proposal across the street to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and should that draft receive approval it will be officially disseminated to teams, media and the fans.

"When he came onboard, (IndyCar Parent Company CEO) Mark (Miles) asked me to take a look at the qualifying procedure for Indianapolis. What Mark's view was or reason for it, he looks at the month of May.

"Like everybody, some days it looks great and other days it looks like the fans are not seeing what they used to see there. The magic was maybe not as exciting as it could be. So with a very clear intention that we weren't going to try and mastermind excitement, what we were trying to do is try to make the month of May at Indianapolis something the fans will really embrace."

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