Watchful eyes on the Indy 500 posted by Ray Hartjen
The 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 begins with the wave of the green flag on Sunday, and while this year’s race is looks on the surface to be a wide-open, competitive affair, there are, as usual, a few things to keep a keen eye on. Between drivers, teams, and new rules, there’s a little bit of something, from casual fans to the hardcore.
From the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” department might come one of the most bold – and baffling – rules changes in recent memory. Indy Car officials, in a bid to make the racing more exciting have instituted two-wide restarts coming out of yellow flag caution periods. So far this season, the result has been a bunch of twisted race cars.
This is for sure – restarts will be more exciting. They’ll likely be very expensive for car owners too. In NASCAR, a two-wide start is an entirely different beast, and a function of cars with fenders and an extra thousand pounds or so coming to grips with the bumping and grinding. For open wheel cars, it’s something else entirely. When cars come together at speed, there’s very, very little chance of both cars coming out unscathed; expect suspension and wing damage at the least. More likely, expect heavy contact with the Turn One wall. The last two years have seen terrifying accidents at the speedway as a result of wheels “tripping” over others. Let’s hope in the bid for excitement, IndyCar officials don’t have to face the effects of serious injuries like Vito Meira’s (2009) or Mike Conway (2010). Or, face up to worse.
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