Chevy Crashes Produce Rule Changes In Indy

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 17 2015
Helio Castroneves was one of those who was involved in dramatic wrecks at Indy.

Helio Castroneves was one of those who was involved in dramatic wrecks at Indy.

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

A series of practice crashes which resulted in cars going airborne and flipping have spurred a series of changes for qualifying for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500.

The crashes all involved Chevrolets using speedway aero kits.

bugindy500On Sunday morning, in practice leading up to rain-delayed pole qualifying, Ed Carpenter’s Chevy became the latest to lose grip and flip. Carpenter’s incident comes in the wake of similar wrecks by Helio Castroneves and Josef Newgarden.

“We were on the fourth lap of a qualifying sim (simulation run),” Carpenter said. “The car felt good; a lot better than yesterday,” Carpenter said. “We’ve seen the data, and it just went. I wish I knew why it happened.”

Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway issued the following statement after meeting with team owners:

“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.”

The decision reportedly did not sit well with teams using Hondas.

Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan said, “I’d like to just go run them as they were. I think that’s the fair thing to do. The changes that they made play more into Chevy’s favor even though that’s what originally caused this thing.

“There’s no proof that a Honda would do the same thing. I think it would only have been fair to just let us run like we were.”

Roger Penske, owner of Team Penske’s Chevrolets, estimated the changes will likely reduce qualifying speeds to well below the magic 200 mph barrier.

Scott Dixon, who had run a lap of 233.001 mph in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, just before Carpenter’s crash, said the changes made to the cars Sunday were “big changes”.

“It’s definitely thrown a curveball,” Dixon said.

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

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, May 17 2015
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