ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Will Power of Team Penske is advocating for a change in the push-to-pass regulations in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
“For tracks with short straights and we go to a few of them like here Mid-Ohio where it is difficult to pass, a really good system would be a no-reply push-to-pass system,” Power said. “That’s where the car in front cannot reply to the car behind and that would create a lot more passing. I think it would be worth a try to stop using the push-to-pass defensively. It needs to be an offensive weapon.
“IndyCar is trying things and have changed the system this year to how you can engage it,” Power added. “They are open to ideas like that. They have tried things in Indy Lights to see how it works.
“I think that would be worth a try for us in IndyCar.”
Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull believes Power’s thoughts on push-to-pass have a lot of validity.
“Push-to-pass needs to be an offensive mechanism; not a defensive mechanism,” Hull said. “I’m sure there is some kind of sensor technology to do that. We are going in the right direction with IndyCar, too. I think we are a lot better than we were before in terms of not using it for restarts and not using it for the start because that is a defensive mechanism, also.
“A race driver that understands the tactical side of racing somebody and can understand the pass can use it as an offensive mechanism. Drivers that just push the button trying to pass somebody are probably not the drivers you want in your race car.”
In many ways, push-to-pass has never done what it was intended to do.
“Honestly, I don’t think it has made a difference,” Hull said. “The cars are so closely matched to each other we need to unmatch the cars in order to create passing on the race track. When you do that, the ability of the drivers comes out.
“I think it’s important race series try things because if they don’t try things sameness doesn’t create fan happiness. This is something they tried and if organized a little better than it is right now it will have good fan reaction.”
Team Penske competition director Kyle Moyer thinks Power’s idea makes sense. It would simply be a matter of writing a developing a software program. Moyer believes IndyCar officials are taking a serious look at it.
“Too many people defend with it rather than actually pass with it,” Moyer said.
But on of Power’s main competitors doesn’t buy into his idea at all.
“Will thinks that until he is leading,” Graham Rahal said. “If you are leading you don’t want that to happen. You have every right to defend utilizing it. It’s an offensive and defensive tool. As an offensive player I try to get a defender to utilize push to pass and wear him out and eventually he is going to run out. If I can do that and not utilize mine, then I’m looking pretty good.
“That is part of racing that I’m not going to talk about because I try to be good on strategy inside the car versus others and don’t want to go too much into it.”