The Official Word From IndyCar

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Mark Miles and Derrick Walker addressed the media regarding last-minute qualification changes. First, there will be no points awarded for qualifying as was done last year. That’s huge because there are enough points awarded for the pole-sitter and front row to significantly alter the point standings.

The rule that mandates all teams race with the aero setup they qualify with will now apply to all teams. Walker said that just because all three airborne crashes involved Chevy, that doesn’t mean that Honda doesn’t have a similar problem.

Again, here’s the latest revised schedule for this afternoon:

Today’s revised schedule:
1:30 – 2 p.m. – Group 1 practice
2 – 2:30 p.m. – Group 2 practice
*Note: No guaranteed green flag time
2:45 p.m. – Group 1 in tech line
3:15 p.m. – Group 2 in tech line
3:15 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 qualifications (all cars, one time through)
30 minutes following conclusion of qualifying – Group 2 qualifying (Pos. 31-33 and unqualified cars)
*Note: There will be no Fast Nine Shootout

Here is the full statement from IndyCar CEO, Mark Miles:

"This morning we saw a third car get into the wall, turn backward and lift into the air. We’ve said all along we want to go faster, but we want to do so safely.
"As a precautionary measure, INDYCAR will require that the cars qualify today in the same aero setup that they will run in the Indianapolis 500 next weekend. Also, for today, boost levels will return to race conditions. Given these changes, we have elected to not award points for today’s qualifications.
"Safety for drivers and fans is the top priority for INDYCAR and we will continue to be proactive in our research and development to improve all safety aspects of our sport."

I’ll let you digest this. Let’s just hope that amid all this craziness, that the rain will stay away long enough to fill the field. Looks like we’ll be getting home to Nashville later than planned tonight.  But that pales in comparison to the problem faced by the slowest driver of the day. That person cannot retry and has to go home. Talk about pressure!

Check back later. Things are changing by the minute.

George Phillips

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5 Responses to “The Official Word From IndyCar”

  1. Ron Ford Says:

    CFH is now out about a million bucks.

    I liked Randy Bernard and there is no way he could have forecast this mess, but if I never hear “aero-kit” again it will be too soon.

  2. billytheskink Says:

    While they surely did not handle this well in some areas, I would be much more critical of Indycar’s management and their ultimate decision here if I could come up with a better solution in the same time frame. Frankly, I can’t. This seems reasonable enough to me. Unfortunately, unforeseen safety issues and the last minute decisions they require are NEVER easy to swallow. I know this all too well, I was at the CART race at Texas in 2001.

    Here’s hoping for a safe qualifying session. Giving everyone a single run and having a special “bumping” session should provide entertainment value too.
    I have long enjoyed Indycar’s non-Indy oval qualifying procedure above all others because there is no margin from error. You get your 2/4 laps, they all count, and you get one chance and no do-overs. The closest driver to perfection wins the pole.

    • What a rational take on things, ‘skinky. Like you, I’m not entirely sure how I’d have handled things, in real time, in the heat of the moment. That’s why I’ve been awful slow to rain judgement on the heads of anybody at IndyCar.

      Could they have spent time putting backwards cars in the wind tunnels? Sure, but I suspect they would have found…ahem: cars going backwards at over 200 MPH want to fly (as does just about anything travelling that speed). Could they have then
      found some stuff to decrease the amount of lift the cars make going backwards at over 200 MPH? Yeah, maybe, but there wasn’t a whole ton of evidence over the last three seasons that would you lead you to believe that we’d see anything like what we’ve seen this week. Hindsight is 20/20, right? Could the back and forth between the Series, Chevy and Honda have been handled better today? I have no idea, as I wasn’t in the room.

      I dunno. It seems like the older I get, the more I see the different sides of things. And nothing is as simple as I thought they were 10 years ago. Meanwhile, here’s to a good, safe week going forward from here.

  3. Well, next time how about more testing. However, Honda looks to make out real good because of this. Let’s see who finds speed.

  4. Unforseen safety issues? It has been quite a few days since Helio and Newgarden took flight. They buried their heads. For the same people who outlawed the Hans device in 1996 because the fitment required 1996 car changes to hide behind safety today is a joke.

    There is little left of Indy. There are 20 year old cars in the museum that could have taken the pole safely today and been the favorites to win the race.

    Indy is locked into a long term contract with this car… the series will fold under it.

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