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IndyCar has issues to fix beyond Wheldon accident
IndyCar made gains this year in building a buzz about the series that many believed would carry over into the 2012 season.
Even so, there was obvious work that still had to be done during the offseason. Though the investigation of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon’s death now takes top priority, other pressing issues can’t be forgotten.
First up is the 2012 car that Wheldon, the primary test driver, helped develop. The investigation into Wheldon’s death _ the result of a 15-car accident in the early laps of the Oct. 16 season finale at Las Vegas _ could reveal information that potentially could be applied to the car.
Four-time series champion Dario Franchitti got his first laps in the car this week during a two-day test at Sebring, and said Thursday that drivers have a long way to go in getting the car ready for next season.
“I’m really appreciative of Dallara naming the car after Dan; he did put a lot of work into it, and he did a really good job of not telling us anything,” Franchitti said. “He was very secretive about what went on so he didn’t give anyone an advantage, and a few of us tried to tap him for information.
“We’re at the beginning of a long development process. … We still have a lot of work to do. It will be a busy couple of months.”
Although the new car has been touted as both safer and technologically improved, Wheldon’s accident has led to a call for a variety of new features such as increased horsepower, less downforce and a closed canopy cockpit, which driver Will Power said isn’t realistic.
“It’s no question better than the old car, a little easier to drive and it’s definitely faster,” said Power, who has tested. “But I think a canopy itself would be a very long-term project. You’ve got to be able to get out of the car if there happened to be a fire; you’ve got to be able to be extracted quickly. It’s not something that can be put on in the next three months.”
Franchitti also downplayed the calls for a canopy.
While the teams work on car development, CEO Randy Bernard must address the 2012 schedule, which is unfinished.
Bernard previously had announced that the series will return next season to Detroit’s Belle Isle Park, and he’s been working hard on a deal to stage an event in China.
Although Las Vegas already had been announced as the season finale, a return to that track or any other high-banked oval is up for debate.
NASCAR five-time champion Jimmie Johnson was blasted by fans for calling on IndyCar to stop racing on ovals, but Johnson specifically meant the high-banked tracks. Franchitti and Power, two of IndyCar’s most visible drivers, said Johnson is not off the mark.
“I absolutely understood what he meant, and I think that was totally taken the wrong way,” Power said. “But my personal thought is that all those tracks, the high-banked tracks, were built for NASCAR. Las Vegas used to be a track we could race, and then they added the banking. The fact is, a stock car is three times the weight of an IndyCar, and that it makes it very difficult to get the formula right for many of those big ovals.”
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- Obama avoids 'red line' for China, prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia
- CURL: Obama's foreign policy even worse than his domestic policy
- Ukraine claims torture by pro-Russian forces on the heels of Biden's stern warning to Moscow
- Sold out: Ukraine's leadership swapped best military weapons for cash
- Jimmy Carter: Dont hurt Russian people with sanctions
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