Tell us if this sounds familiar: Parent wants kid to stop doing something because it's too dangerous, which makes son only want to do it more. It's a common enough occurrence, played out every day in households across America and around the world. Only this is no ordinary family. It's the Scheckters.

If the name rings a bell, that's because it belongs to the 1979 Formula One World Champion Jody Scheckter. These days, it's his son Tomas who wears the driving gloves in the family, competing in the IndyCar series. Tomas Scheckter has won a couple of races, never managing better than seventh in the championship, but he's only contested a few rounds this season. Following the tragic crash in Las Vegas that killed Dan Wheldon, AutoWeek reports that Jody has said he would like to see his son leave the series. But Tomas has other ideas.

While other parties have called for reduced speeds in Indy in the wake of the Wheldon crash, Tomas wants next year's cars to have more power so they can more ably pull away from tight fields that, by some accounts, is what led to the massive fifteen-car pile-up.

Tomas just might get his wish, as new engines provided by Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus are set to power a new, lighter Dallara chassis next year. The question is whether that will be the prudent move given the recent tragedy.


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  • 22 Comments
      Steven
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe you should stop running open wheel cars on ovals first.
        Drew
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Steven
        So its just like F1? I would rather watch paint dry. The best part about the indy series is the ovals. The series got its start on ovals and that is where it should stay. I heard talk of the new car for next season being able to break the fastest qualification speed at Indy. That's the kind of excitement the series needs. New technology allowing them to push the edge of whats possible.
        Tom Winch
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Steven
        It's not running on ovals that's inherently dangerous, it's running on high banked ovals where the driver's don't have to lift. The last Indycar death before Dan Wheldon was Paul Dana at Homestead in 2006, a high banked oval where driver's don't lift. Greg Moore was killed in 1999 in a CART race at Autoclub Speedway in Fontana, CA., another high banked oval where drivers only lift for traffic. With the cars all being basically spec racers, there is such a small performance difference in the cars that without drivers having to actually use the throttle and brakes, they are driving around in packs, wheel to wheel, at 225 mph. As soon as they touch wheels, as we saw at Las Vegas, cars get airborne and everything goes to hell in a hurry. Indy, although commonly called an oval, is actually rectangular shaped and only the best car setup can enable the driver to do a lap without lifting. And the banking is nowhere as high as it is at the NASCAR style high banked ovals like Las Vegas Speedway. IMO the IRL should forget about the NASCAR style high banked ovals. Lose those and fill out the schedule with more road course and street races.
        Agent55
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Steven
        How dare you speak logically!
      Chris Bynum
      • 3 Years Ago
      Tomas is right. Robin Miller wrote an editorial today on Speedtv.com that talks about this subject.. If you have any thoughts on openwheel racing and Indy Car you should read it. Here is a brief quote from the article. The drivers worth their salt want a lot more horsepower and a lot less downforce in the new car/engine combo. “We need to make them tougher to drive so we can separate the men from the boys,” said Graham Rahal, who cut his teeth on 850-900 HP in Champ Car before coming to the unified IRL and 650 HP. Noah, you should spend a little more time understanding what you are writing about. I don't think you have a good understanding about Indy Car Racing. Reach out to some drivers or somebody like Robin Miller who understand Indy Car Racing and ask what they think before you insinuate something like you did in your last sentence.
        Tom Winch
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Chris Bynum
        Tomas, Graham, and you get it. Like I was saying in my comment to Steven below, they need to race where the drivers actually need to show some skill other than mashing the go pedal to the floor and holding on for dear life. Adding HP and decreasing downforce would have that effect. No one would be able to run side by side just by not lifting because it would be impossible to complete a lap.
      teri polzin
      • 3 Years Ago
      I trust Tomas and I believe he knows what he is talking about. I hope Indycar makes the changes they need to.
      Nathan Loiselle
      • 3 Years Ago
      More torque, less horsepower. Top speed will drop but acceleration will go up allowing for a slower race overall but the ability to pull away more easily in the turns. But even then you won't find much of an improvement unless they introduce DRS.
        ytilanigiroon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Nathan Loiselle
        Couldn't you leave the engine alone and just work on the gearing for that?
      brendanhunt88
      • 3 Years Ago
      So Jody wants his son to quit a sport that is much safer cars by far (because of the time period, not the series) than the one he raced in because its dangerous? Maybe he should think back to what he would have said to his father had he told him to quit.
      Shane Gardner
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good man, "eh no thanks dad..."
      Narom
      • 3 Years Ago
      No offence intended, but one of the reason i now check Autoblog last for news is highlighted with this article. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/15336678.stm Only 11 days behind the news.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      protovici
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not really any perfect formula that will cut future deaths, however, the new chassis and better engine performance might keep a large car pile-up more safe. NASCAR could help, but two different types of machines.
      Brandon Allen
      • 3 Years Ago
      How about fewer ovals? A road course is slower in terms of speed and far more interesting. I know top-speed ovals are Indy's heritage but they are extremely dangerous when compared to a good ol' road course. Like NASCAR, I'm sure ratings will go down at first but NASCAR has made bigger changes to slow down cars as well as make the cars and tracks more safe while keeping old-school fans interested. If it's a mandated rule that NASCAR and Indy do fewer ovals because of safety, I'm sure fans will adapt. They've been adapting for years anyway.
      Agilis
      • 3 Years Ago
      So explain this logic, or lack of to me... Tomas wants the cars to have more power so they can more ably pull away from tight fields... Which is a ignorant request because if everyone has this 'extra' power, then no one would pull away from anyone else thus the field would remain tight. Bottom line: If someone can go 240 MPH with this extra power, everyone will go 240 MPH.
      Ross
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's amazing how quickly everyone forgets how many oval races Indycar has had and noone has been injured or killed. This is the FIRST wreck like this Indycar has had of this magnitude. Paul Dana's crash at Homestead was in practice after he hit debris from Ed Carpenters wrecked car. Kenny Bracks bad accident was at Texas but involved only 2 cars and the car got into the catchfence when it got airborne. Greg Moore crashed alone and flipped over hitting the wall head first...and it isn't known if the car broke or if he just lost control going down the back straight due to wind gusts. Did we forget how well the Dallara chassis protected the 14 other drivers in the accident despite the carnage? Dan's incident was a freak accident...it wouldn't have mattered if there were 24 cars on the track, or if they were going 20mph slower, or if they were all vets...until the cars have more horsepower, less downforce, and a tire that wears out more there will be pack racing. But, the MAIN issue is they need to keep the cars on the ground. If a car gets airborne at 140 then that isn't safe, but if it stays on the ground at 250 I would consider that safer.
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