IndyCar veterans Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan are among those backing the series’ decision to postpone the start of its season until at least May amid global efforts to get ahead of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think for the drivers and the teams, it’s really out of our hands to be honest,” said Dixon. “Ultimately, we’re competitors and we all want to go out and race, especially after a long off-season. You want to get out there and see what you have.
“I think it’s frustrating for a lot of people because there are so many unknowns. You don’t know when it’s going to be OK to do anything. From promoters, to sponsors, to team owners… when does this whole thing work itself out? We know right now we’re not racing this month, but will it go further than that? That’s the hardest part. The biggest thing is that everyone tries to remain healthy and safe. IndyCar made the right call.”
Kanaan, whose record streak of 317 consecutive starts would have been broken when the green flag waved at St. Petersburg on Sunday after the Brazilian scaled back to an oval-only farewell season, has been part of two previous cancellations and postponements. CART’s 2000 Nazareth race was postponed due to snow, and a year later, the Texas race was cancelled after abnormally high G-loadings caused dizziness and disorientation among the drivers. According to Kanaan, what’s happening now feels different.
“At Nazareth it snowed, but we came back at a later date,” he told RACER. “Texas, we were getting dizzy and couldn’t race. That was understandable. Selfishly, at Texas we just said, ‘whatever.’ I was getting dizzy but someone else wasn’t, so it was like, ‘well…’. As drivers, some left that place thinking, ‘We could have raced.’
“Here [at St. Petersburg], it’s a common sense thing. This is not about us. This is about the world. We need to care about other people. If I get [coronavirus] right now, it won’t matter – I’m healthy. I’d stay home, and that would be it. But we need to think about the people that cannot sustain this type of illness, so I think it is 100 percent understandable.
“When we initially made the decision to go on, us and NASCAR… we looked around and thought, ‘Eh… it might not look good.’ You’re going against 80 percent of the sporting sanctioning bodies just because, and it could backfire pretty quickly. It’s sad. But it’s the right thing to do.”