Being a motorsport, IndyCar doesn’t always appeal to the masses in the sporting world, and many people can’t see the enjoyment in watching cars race around a track. This can leave many to wonder whether the perception that IndyCar is boring is true.
IndyCar is not boring to those who understand the sport, and it is no more or less boring than any other motorsport. While some IndyCar races may be perceived as cars driving in circles, there is so much more to it, and the talent of the drivers involved alone makes the sport very exciting to watch.
Some love IndyCar, while others consider it tedious. Those that find it tedious have perceptions that may or may not be true, and getting to the root of those is the only way to convince some people that there is more to the sport than just driving around a racetrack. We go into all of this below.
Is Indy Car Boring?
Some people instinctively find IndyCar exciting and interesting. For these folks, even a dull race is fun to watch. These are devoted fans, and they rarely find IndyCar boring. They might still find the occasional race boring if there isn’t any action, but they’ll probably keep watching anyway. These are not the people we’re trying to convince about the sport being worth watching.
What Do You Enjoy?
How you feel about any sport is largely influenced by your personal preferences. While that perception can change, with racing, it can be a very long and hard process. There are generally a few different kinds of opinions regarding IndyCar, and they range from those that have never watched a race before to those that have never missed attending one live.
Some people do not find IndyCar boring so much as they do not like the sport at all. There can be several reasons for this:
- They favor stock car racing
- They do not like open-wheel racing
- They do not like racing at all
IndyCar will likely never be fun to watch for these people, even though it may not be boring for them. It is boring for others in this group because there are a million other things they would rather be doing, just like someone who doesn’t follow ice hockey but loves basketball would rather watch the NBA than what they find to be boring in the NHL.
Lack Of Knowledge
For those that are ambivalent about the sport, boredom might be a product of a lack of knowledge of the sport or the fact that all they have ever seen has been on television (more on that in a moment). One trip to the track or sitting down to watch an intense final few laps of the Indy 500 can be all it takes to turn them into a fan.
Oval Racing With Open Wheel Cars
The joke about NASCAR is that it is all “drive fast and turn left.” During all those left turns, though, there are multiple processes going on and choices made. Those lead to tight racing, crashes, showdowns, grudges, close finishes, fuel issues, controversy, sometimes fistfights, and complaining by anyone that lost out in the race.
In other words, NASCAR oval racing is exciting. Sure, some tracks can lull even the most ardent fan to sleep, but most do not. A few would keep a person awake no matter what. Bristol is a good example of that, but there are countless other instances throughout the season. IndyCar vehicles, on the other hand, are not really cut out to entertain on ovals because they are so technical.
The cars are open-wheel, which inherently makes them more fragile. But they’re also just designed for aerodynamic performance. This makes it much riskier to make moves in IndyCar. Drivers hold back, reserve fuel, and back off challenges, leading to a race that is more process and strategy than racing adrenalin. In NASCAR, the drivers are bumping each other and it’s often just more fun to watch.
While this isn’t obviously the case in every race, it can be a detractor for some. But IndyCar races primarily on road courses, and this is where it can be really exciting to watch. There’s just something about watching drivers in what are still essentially open cockpit cars (even with the aeroscreen) travelling round corners at upwards of 100 mph!
Watching It Live Matters
Almost any sporting event is better live, and IndyCar is no exception. Take a newbie or skeptic to the track and let them hear the roar of the engines, see the speed and maybe even a crash or two, and most people at least walk away impressed. Many walk away converted fans.
For some, IndyCar is always exciting. For others, it is always boring and even aggravating. For many though, their personal experience with IndyCar dictates whether they get bored or not.
Is IndyCar Less Exciting Than Other Motorsports?
IndyCar is not inherently less exciting than other motorsports. How interesting or boring you find one motorsport largely depends on your own personal experience with the sport and your general interests. IndyCar races can be extremely exciting for some, and very boring for others.
NASCAR vs IndyCar
With NASCAR oval races, a fan in the right seat can see every vehicle racing on most tracks and can see long sequences of racing down straightaways, cars entering and leaving corners, and even pitstops. On most courses, crashes are easily seen both in the crowd and on television. This can make NASCAR appear more exciting to many racing fans.
It’s often different with IndyCar. On ovals, the race cars often get so spread out that it is possible to have vehicles well into either straightaway on the same lap at the same time. Usually, one or two cars are vying for contention, and TV coverage often fixates only on those vehicles. This can make the rest of the race seem less important, and therefore less exciting.
With road courses, spans of the track are often left vacant of any vehicles because the cars are so spread out and the courses are so long. The leader and two or three others fly by, and then no racers are seen for several seconds. This can make watching these races live less exciting, but the racing itself on the road courses is often extremely exciting to watch on TV.
When The Action Occurs
It is common to have one leader out in front of an IndyCar race for dozens of laps with no real challenges. That can all change in a heartbeat. With other forms of racing, drivers can fight for position for several laps. Groups of drivers can work together to push someone into the lead or to take a position in NASCAR for example. There is constant action that sometimes happens for the entire race.
Because of this, lead changes are often anticlimactic, and there’s no real suspense. Things can heat up during the final laps, but in the middle of the race there can be long periods where nothing of note happens. This can make the smaller chunks of action that are so common in IndyCar more exciting than those that occur more frequently in other motorsports, but it’s all about personal preference.
The question of whether IndyCar is boring is a tough one to answer because there are so many influences that determine the answer. The same applies to whether IndyCar is more exciting than other motorsports. It all comes down to what type of racing you like and what you expect from that racing.