Max Chilton and Carlin Racing announced Tuesday that the fourth year IndyCar driver will no be piloting his #59 Gallagher Chevy on ovals for the remainder of the season. Conor Daly will be subbing for Chilton this weekend at Texas.
Chilton electing to skip the remaining ovals on the schedule sparked predicatable takes on the internet. “IndyCar Is Too Dangerous”, “IndyCar has an oval problem”, “Max Chilton is a Pussy”, and “They don’t build them like they used too.” All of those are terrible takes for a multitude of reasons that we won’t get into in this blog. The one thing we’re not seeing enough is this;
Max Chilton Should Be Applauded For His Bravery
Max should be applauded for making this announcement. It takes some courage to admit when you’re not comfortable with something. For too long guys in particular have been told to “suck it up” even if they were worried or uncomfortable with something.
To do that in front of a sport takes a level of braveness that extends past going into turn 1 at Indianapolis flat footed. Ovals aren’t for everyone and that’s perfectly fine. Max is a guy that had aspirations of being an F1 star, he didn’t grow up on ovals. The concept is foreign to him and at this point of his career he doesn’t see the point in learning/perfecting that skill.
Max talked about assessing the risks involved with oval racing and determined that risk was too high for him. Mike Conway did the same thing when he raced in IndyCar. After his flip at Indianapolis in 2010 he was weary of ovals but continued to race them for the next two seasons. It wasn’t until the season finale at Fontana in 2012 that Conway decided he was done with ovals. He went on to win three more times as he did a road course only program until he left the series in 2014.
With a recent rash of really bad oval accidents in recent years Max made the smart move. No one can judge someone else for a personal decision they make. It’s his choice, if he doesn’t want to be out there we should respect that as fans. We’ve seen Dixon fly at Indianapolis, Justin Wilson lose his life, Wickens is paralyzed, Newgarden and Daly tried to drive through the wall at Texas, Mikhail Aleshin at Fontana, Briscoe at Fontana. There are so many examples as to why oval racing is a turn off for some people.
On the flip side some guys live for ovals. Ed Carpenter is a master on ovals and loves the challenge. The difference is he grew up on ovals. No one criticizes Ed for not racing on road courses. Drivers know where their skillset succeeds and where they don’t.
Be supportive of Max. It’s a tough call to make but the right call if you’re not comfortable. Most people would just suck it up and take that risk. It’s ok if you’re not comfortable.
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