Confusing formats are not the way to bring fans back to the IndyCar series.
Let's be honest, changing racing formats up to create attention and increase fan interest sounds like a good idea until one recognizes that the elements that have changed will not be televised. That's right, for Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by DEKALB, the three 50 Lap sprint races (150 Laps total) to be run Saturday evening, used to establish the starting order (with bonus points awarded for positions 1-12 earned) of the official points paying race on Sunday, will not be televised.
The lack of television broadcast options leaves real fans with IndyCar Race Control Timing and Scoring, Smart Phones (IndyCar 13 App) and ... cheat sheets.
This excerpted and edited from IndyCar.com -
The heat races include transfers to Race 3 for the top two finishers in the first two qualifying races.
Positions in the three heat races will be determined by single-car, single-lap qualifying (4 p.m. ET) on the .875-mile, variably-banked oval. A blind draw will determine the qualifying order. Practice (11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. ET) and qualifying also are featured on indycar.com and INDYCAR 13 with Timing & Scoring and the IMS Radio Network call.
Race 1 -- Will consist of the even-numbered positions, starting with position 8 from single-car qualifying. The results of Race 1 shall determine the even-numbered positions in the starting field, starting with position 12. The top two finishers will transfer to Race 3 and start in positions 8 and 10.
Race 2 -- Will consist of the odd-numbered positions, starting with position 7 from single-car qualifying. The results of Race 2 shall determine the odd-numbered positions in the starting field, starting with position 11. The top two finishers will transfer to Race 3 and start in positions 7 and 9.
Race 3 -- Will consist of positions 1 through 6 from single-car qualifying plus the first- and second-place finishers from Races 1 and 2 to determine the pole winner and the first five rows of the starting grid.
As far as the race is concerned, IndyCar, with its patchwork of television broadcasting of points paying races will have Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by DEKALB be presented by the network general broadcast outlet of ABC and its affiliates. Anytime IndyCar can appear on general broadcast versus cable only outlets increases access and should be the major consideration for fan base expansion going forward post unification.
The lack of televised coverage (Cable Only or General Broadcast) for the 150 Laps of qualifications racing (more than half of the number of laps to be run in the race itself on Sunday), seems really counter-productive to fan interest development, especially when one includes the complexity of the 3 Heat Race format.
The race will also be available on IMS Radio Network affiliates, XM/Sirius 211, indycar.com (IMS Radio Network and Timing & Scoring) and INDYCAR 13 (in-car cameras, Timing & Scoring, IMS Radio Network).