Verizon IndyCar Series

VICS: Kits and Boost Back To Race Trim For Time Trials

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Following Ed Carpenter’s morning warm-up crash Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Verizon IndyCar Series officials will indeed make changes to all cars prior to the return of action on the 2.5 mile oval whether today or on Monday or later. All 34 entries attempting to qualify for the 99th Indianapolis 500, will be required to run when qualifying opens on the same boost levels that were run prior to Fast Friday. That confirms the information that was delivered to Rubbings Racing previously this morning. Also, the aero kits that were devised for the race itself will be mandated for both Chevrolet and Honda for qualifications if and when they are run. Along with these adjustments, the series will also not reward points for pole qualifying as had been initially planned. It is unknown yet whether or not double points will be offered still for next Sunday’s Indianapolis 500-mile race.

“Safety for the 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.” said IndyCar CEO Mark Miles said during a special press conference held early Sunday afternoon.

Although there were reportedly some objections to the changes by both manufacturers, a compromise appears to have been met with acceptance from both. “Initiallly everyone thinks about them, but I think the paddock understands where we were are at,” explained Miles. “We want to go faster but we must also do so safely.”

As a result of the changes, the expected 230 MPH plus efforts that were shown on Fast Friday, will likely not be reached in the time trials session to come. Realistic projections have been targeted in the 225 to 227 MPH average zone.

Although the incidents involving flips and rollovers have only involved Chevrolet-powered teams this week, IndyCar President of Operations and Competitions Derrick Walker would not say that the issue was solely with the Chevrolet’s aero kit choices. “Just because we saw three issues with Chevrolet, does not mean there is also a problem with the Honda kits,” Walker explained. “Again the concern is safety, that’s our number one interest, (also) the three incidents were due to three different issues.”

Among the specific aero changes also includes the mandating of a one-half inch wicker on the rear wings of both the Chevrolet and Honda cars. It is also likely that the kits will be further evaluated following the Indy 500 next week and ahead of the next high speed oval event at Texas Motor Speedway next month.

None of the drivers have suffered injuries in any of the three airborne shunts, including Carpenter’s accident this morning. However, the bigger concern is looking ahead to next Sunday’s race where an airborne accident like the three previous, could not only trigger a pileup for the other competitors, but it could also send flying debris into the grandstands, which could put several spectators at an increased risk.

While all of this is going on, two other stories are developing in Gasoline Alley. CFH Racing has test fired Ed Carpenter’s backup machine successfully, meaning he would have a shot to qualify for the field if action gets going today. There is of course the concern about weather as was the case on Saturday. Projections of whether rain will hit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or not are mixed for the rest of the afternoon, although all are in accordance that showers and storms will certainly be present after the track closes this evening.

The schedule for the remainder of the day, minus rain of course affecting proceedings, is current set for the following. A special practice session for all cars will run from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., with qualifying now set to begin at 3:15 p.m. eastern time. All cars as planned at the start of the day will get one attempt and the pole position will be determined in this session. There will be no shootout session for the pole, however there will be a final session for those teams unable to qualify in the top 30 in session one. The slowest driver in session two will not qualify for the 99th Indy 500.

As always stay tuned to RubbingsRacing and follow @RubbingsRacing and @MattEmbury on Twitter for news and updates throughout the day.

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About Matt Embury

Matt Embury is the Senior SportsCar Writer at Rubbings Racing and can be followed on Twitter (@MattEmbury) for the latest sports car news and opinions. A native of Mishawaka, Indiana, he has been following sports car racing for nearly 20 years.

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