News & Multimedia

The IndyCar Whatdya-Call-It?

It’s not a Scandinavian flick. It’s not Hooning. So what is it?

What’s the name for the fairly common practice among IndyCar drivers of executing a power half-spin in a runoff area when they make a mistake and run too long into a braking zone?

The Spin-Flick. The Snap-Spin? The Roasty-Table-Top-180?

“Hmmn, I have no idea,” said Panther Racing IndyCar driver JR Hildebrand. “That’s a good question, and it needs a name, for sure.”

I figured if Hildebrand, IndyCar’s resident drifting expert (he’ll compete in two Formula D rounds later this year driving for his friend Tyler McQuarrie) doesn’t know what to call the maneuver, it’s time to take it to the fans for input.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below and maybe it will get picked up by drivers and commentators at the next street race, held one week after the Indy 500 on June 1-2 in Detroit.

And while we’re at it, like drifting, this IndyCar Whatd’ya-Call-It move is worthy of being judged. Five drivers took trips into the runoff last weekend in this clip from the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and perform the yet-to-be-named turn, so which one do you think did the best job from start to finish?
Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s James Jakes kicks things off and does a nice spin but doesn’t power away after getting pointed in the right direction. Big loss of points on my scorecard.

Brazil’s Ana Beatriz is impressive in how close she executes the move next to the barrier—risked bashing the right rear wheel of her Dale Coyne Racing car—but takes her time getting back to the action. Also a big loss of points.

Next up is four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais, who is pretty smooth and fluid every step of the way and does a marvelous burnout in his Dragon Racing machine to leave the runoff. It’s a contender for the Whatd’ya-Call-It win.

Three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti gets high marks for the start of his move, but the Target Chip Ganassi driver only turns the car about 130 degrees—not even a proper rotation—but does keep the car moving and pulls back onto the track. He might make the podium, but certainly not the top step.

The champion, at least during qualifying at Brazil, is Andretti Autosport’s E.J. Viso. He brings the car to a stop, lets the revs rise, drops the (hand) clutch, spins the car and even gasses it up with a bit of opposite lock once he’s on the course.

Which one do you like most and why? Share your rankings below.

Marshall Pruett is a contributor for and also writes for, Racer and Road & Track.

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
The IndyCar Whatdya-Call-It?
The IndyCar Whatdya-Call-It?
It’s not a Scandinavian flick. It’s not Hooning. So what is it?
Read More
Related Media
Michael Andretti
Ask Donald Davidson: Racking Up Top-10s at Indy, and the Lone Louisville Champion
Do you have a question for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Historian Donald Davidson? Ask via Twitter with the hashtag #AskDonald or on Facebook.
Read More
James Hinchcliffe
Hinch Gets Ready to Rumba on 'Dancing With The Stars'
Hinchcliffe is coming off a week in which he totaled the highest judges’ score – 29 out of a possible 30. But his and Burgess’ fate and that of the other eight remaining couples will be decided when the judges’ scores are combined with fan voting from last week.
Read More
Kevin Harvick
Harvick Wins at Kansas, Clinches Spot in Round of 8
With his second victory at Kansas, his fourth of the season and the 35th of his career, Harvick joined last week's Charlotte winner, Jimmie Johnson, in the Chase's Round of 8 and erased the specter of racing under pressure next Sunday in the crapshoot that is Talladega.
Read More
Sebastien Bourdais
Bourdais and Friends Join Dale Coyne Racing for 2017
Two years of offseason uncertainty had Sebastien Bourdais yearning for team stability. Dale Coyne wanted a driver who can win to boost his Verizon IndyCar Series team’s profile.
Read More
Torch Relay
Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay’s Final Day Includes Stop at IMS
On the morning of Saturday, Oct. 15, before heading to downtown Indianapolis, the Torch Relay will pass through the “Racing Capital of the World.” And it will do so in a distinctly IMS way – on a two-seat IndyCar driven by former IndyCar driver and team owner Sarah Fisher.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,362
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at
Latest Tweets
RT @joeylogano: What a day...proud of our 22 guys making it to #RoundOf8 for 3rd yr n a row. 4 races to go! #TheChase #DegaBaby
about 22 minutes ago