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10 Things to Know About Indycar Race Day

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McLaren made a helpful article about Indy 500 race day – All eyes, though, will be one row behind Scott Dixon as McLaren speedy Fernando Alonso makes his first appearance in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” The Spaniard has never raced on an oval circuit previously, never drive an Indy car and also not participated a rolling start.

IndyCar race day

1. All IndyCar races begin with a rolling start behind a pace car, which will have its flashing lights on during the parade and pace laps. When the lights are turned off it indicates the intent to start the race the next time across the starting line. At the Indy 500, cars start three-wide. Drivers must take up their start positions during the final parade lap, and remain in position unless mechanical difficulty occurs. Should a driver drop out the remaining cars must maintain their positions – unless otherwise directed by officials.

2. When a yellow flag is thrown for a caution period the pit-lane is closed. However, any car with its nose already past the Pit Commitment Line may enter its pit box. In that case the team can repair damage, replace the tyres if one is damaged, and if low on fuel, can top the car up with the fuel hose fitted for up to two seconds. Any other work can result in a penalty.

3. Once officials signal the pit lane is open, cars can enter. A car must not use the pit-lane to improve its position relative to the pace car or any car remaining on the track, but it can do so relative to other cars in the pit-lane. Prior to the restart any lapped cars between the pace car and the leader are waved by. While they are catching the back of the pack, the pit-lane closes again. When they have caught the pack, and the race is set to restart, the pit-lane is reopened.

4. IndyCar uses single file restarts after yellows or red flags. After the starter gives the “one lap to go” before green-flag conditions signal, cars must line up in single file formation, with no gaps or lagging between cars. For restarts with 15 laps or less remaining, cars not on the lead lap will be moved to the rear of the field.

5. The leader of the field under yellow conditions is required to maintain pace lap speed until reaching a designated point (or restart cone), where the leader is required to accelerate smoothly back to racing speed, and the green condition will be declared. If the leader or any other car accelerates before the restart cone, the restart may be waved off, and/or cars may be penalised.

6. A 60mph speed limit operates in the pitlane at Indianapolis. Six crew members plus the driver are permitted on the track side of the pit wall at any one time when the car is making a pit stop. They may assume their positions one lap before the car arrives. Except during a pit stop, no personnel or pit equipment, including tyres, may be on the track side of the pit wall. Any violations can result in penalties.

7. Penalties can also result for an array of pit stop offences, such as a driver making contact with another car, personnel, or equipment belonging to either his team or a rival, including running over air-lines. Attempting to leave with an air- line, fuel hose or tools still attached to the car can also result in a penalty, as can an unsafe release, or entering the wrong pit-box.

8. IndyCar operates a blocking rule which says that a “driver must not alter his/her racing line to pursuing drivers.” Team tactics and/or team orders are not permitted. They are defined as “actions or omissions… to artificially influence, affect, alter, and/or otherwise interfere with the normal course of an on-track event.”

9. If a damaged car is repaired during the race its return to the track is subject to an inspection by officials. Damaged parts may only be replaced by an exact matching part or assembly. On ovals, repaired cars are not allowed to return to the track in the last 20 laps.

10. Among the penalties available to the stewards are a pit lane drive through, a stop and go, a “stop and hold” for a set amount of time, deducted laps, loss of position, time penalties, taking a restart from the back of the field, and disqualification. The first three are typically signalled by a black flag.

Source – McLaren

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