Skip to content

Race control enhancements, standing starts announced at IndyCar media day

Feb 18, 2014, 5:19 PM EDT

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach - Day 3 Getty Images

Nineteen drivers and one key IndyCar Series official passed through the turnstiles at Tuesday’s IndyCar media day, held at Amway Center in Orlando. The quotes offered from the drivers can be fleshed out over the next couple weeks in the completion of winter testing and the run-up to the season opener in St. Petersburg.

What was the biggest news today though, came from IndyCar’s president of competition and operations, Derrick Walker. The Scot, an open-wheel veteran who begins his first full season on the job after taking over the post last June 1, announced plans to modernize and enhance IndyCar race control, which was occasionally in the cross hairs in 2013.

Walker hinted to MotorSportsTalk at the United States Grand Prix in Austin last November that changes would be coming to race control, although not personnel-related. He said in the races he saw from race control post-the Indianapolis 500, a couple things “seemed pretty obvious” in needing to be changed.

“We couldn’t always see what we needed to do for race control to be effective.  It looked pretty obvious we needed to upgrade our equipment and needed to have more eyes on the job,” Walker told assembled reporters Tuesday.

And then came the c-word – consistency. It was a subject that caused controversy last year in the back-to-back races at Sonoma and Baltimore eventual series champion Scott Dixon retired due to contact with Will Power.

“In addition to that we needed more procedures and probably guidelines is the best way to describe it so that we were as consistent as often as possible.  That was one of the shortcomings of race control,” said Walker.

“So for this year we’ve invested a tremendous amount in equipment so we have a lot more views and better-quality views, better replay, trying to capture all the views that are possible.”

This year will see equipment investment to better help race control see the race, and he also said he hopes by this time in 2015, a mobile race control unit will be established for transport to each race. Right now, INDYCAR is beholden to a certain location on each track where it sets up race control; it is not in one centralized unit.

Walker expanded on what equipment would be added for 2014.

“We’re talking a lot more flat screens, HD,” he said. “The reason for more of them is because we don’t always get all the views that the cameras around the track gets.  We haven’t always got that.  We’ve been caught out many times where we made a call and afterwards saw a different view that would make us think twice.”

Walker confirmed aero kits, the much-discussed, officially planned but not-yet-officially implemented add-ons made by manufacturers, are being worked on. But he didn’t anticipate seeing them until right before they’re officially launched.

Of this year’s Indianapolis 500 qualifying, the format and procedure is “very close” but not formal, yet.

He also took a subtle dig at NASCAR, when asked about giving Juan Pablo Montoya extra days of testing and if any NASCAR drivers (re: Kurt Busch) were going to be able to do an Indianapolis 500-Coca-Cola 600 Memorial Day double.

“We have to help those little taxicab boys come out and race real cars,” Walker deadpanned.

The other major bit of news announced was standing starts, confirmed for Long Beach (April 13, NBCSN) and the Grand Prix of Indianapolis (May 10). Long Beach was interested in one for 2013, but the technology hadn’t been proven yet. Successful standing starts were executed at Toronto’s second race, and Houston’s first race.

“Part of the problem with Long Beach, is getting the field coming round, getting all the field on the front straight, letting it loose,” Walker said. “It never works very well.  If you do a standing start, I think it will be a much better start.”

Added Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach: “This is fantastic news for our fans. They will love hearing the sounds of the IndyCar engines revving up and then the cars roaring down Shoreline Drive. Thanks to IndyCar and especially to Derrick Walker for granting our request. This is a great addition to all of the other activities we have planned as we celebrate 40 years of racing in the streets of Long Beach.”

Latest Posts
  1. Alonso keen on dry qualifying in China

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    Fernando Alonso AP

    Spanish driver puts in an impressive display during practice, but warns that rain could scupper Ferrari’s chances of reaching the podium.

  2. New regulations crucial in Honda’s decision to return to F1

    Apr 18, 2014, 7:30 AM EDT

    Yasuhisa Arai, Senior Managing Officer and Director, Chief Officer of Motorsports, Honda R&D Co. poses at the Honda Motor Co's headquarters in Tokyo Reuters

    Yasuhia Arai reveals some more information about Honda’s decision to return to F1 and the Japanese marque’s plans for the future.

  3. Difficult day in Hamilton’s eyes despite finishing fastest

    Apr 18, 2014, 6:45 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Practice Getty Images

    Hamilton keen on the team correcting handling issues before qualifying tomorrow.

  4. Hamilton recovers in FP2 to edge out Alonso and Rosberg

    Apr 18, 2014, 3:32 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    Mercedes returns to the top of the timesheets, but Ferrari and Alonso are in close company.

  5. WATCH LIVE: Alonso looks to double up in Shanghai

    Apr 18, 2014, 1:45 AM EDT

    Fernando Alonso AP

    Can Mercedes fight back and resume normal service?

  6. Alonso fastest in first practice for Chinese GP

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:32 PM EDT

    Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain arrives for a news conference ahead of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit Reuters

    Spanish driver ends Mercedes streak of first place finishes, but teammate Kimi Raikkonen fails to post a time.

  7. NASCAR AMERICA: Can Gene Haas succeed with an American-based F1 team?

    Apr 17, 2014, 6:58 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    NBCSN’s Rick Allen and Kyle Petty discuss the expectations for Gene Haas as he looks to start a F1 team. The pair question whether an F1 team can be run successfully out of the United States.

  8. NASCAR AMERICA: Kyle Petty — Some of this year’s top rookies mark changing of the guard in NASCAR

    Apr 17, 2014, 6:51 PM EDT

    nascar america

    NBCSN’s Rick Allen and Kyle Petty discuss the emergence of some of this year’s top rookies on Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America. Petty says it is time for a changing of the guard, as many of today’s most successful drivers are nearing the end of their careers.

  9. Alabama Gang rides again with Justin Allison at Talladega

    Apr 17, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT

    The original Alabama Gang. Justin Allison is now the latest member of the gang, turning his first laps at legendary Talladega Superspeedway during an ARCA test there Tuesday and Wednesday. (Photo courtesy JustinAllisonRacing.com) The original Alabama Gang. Justin Allison is now the latest member of the gang, turning his first laps at legendary Talladega Superspeedway during an ARCA test there Tuesday and Wednesday. (Photo courtesy JustinAllisonRacing.com)

    The latest generation of NASCAR’s fabled Alabama Gang rode again in its debut Tuesday and Wednesday at Talladega Superspeedway. Justin Allison, grandson of Donnie Allison and grandnephew of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, both original members of the Alabama Gang, took part in a two-day test of ARCA drivers at NASCAR’s largest oval track.

  10. Ford Racing has some fun to celebrate Mustang’s 50th anniversary (video)

    Apr 17, 2014, 5:32 PM EDT

    (Photo and video courtesy of Ford Racing) (Photo and video courtesy of Ford Racing)

    Whether you like it or not, you can’t say the Ford Mustang doesn’t have staying power. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, the Mustang has become one of the premier muscle car brands ever made by Detroit.

  11. NASCAR has shown outstanding parity through first eight races of 2014

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT

    Kevin Harvick is the only two-time winner thus far in the first eight races of the 2014 Sprint Cup season. AP

    NASCAR chairman Brian France’s unwavering stance to bring parity to the sport during his 10-year tenure is finally paying dividends.

  12. VIDEO: Chinese GP Paddock Pass

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    Alonso

    News and notes from the ground in China from NBCSN’s Will Buxton.

  13. BREAKING NEWS: Swan Racing’s future in NASCAR in question

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT

    Swan Getty Images

    Just eight races into the Sprint Cup season, the future of the two-car Swan Racing team is looking rather murky, with the potential of everything from reorganization to scaling back involvement, if not outright shutting down.

  14. MotorSportsTalk’s predictions: Chinese GP

    Apr 17, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

    F1 heads to China with change in the wind, only making the predictions harder for our experts.

  15. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 p.m. ET — Gene Haas, Kyle Larson, Scan All 43

    Apr 17, 2014, 2:06 PM EDT

    140417-NASCAR-AMERICA

    Thursday on NASCAR AMERICA, the team will cover a lot of ground, including talking with NASCAR team owner Gene Haas about his foray into Formula One. Rick Allen and Kyle Petty man the anchor desk from our Charlotte studio. Remember to tune in at at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra for your online or mobile device.

  16. Long Beach weekend atmosphere thrills Roger Daltrey, as he promotes Teen Cancer America

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:24 PM EDT

    All photos: Honda/LAT All photos: Honda/LAT

    The Who founder and lead singer paid a visit to Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, and soaked it all in while also raising awareness for Teen Cancer America.

  17. Young go-kart racer shows what true racing and determination is all about

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:05 PM EDT

    Screen-Shot-2014-04-17-at-2.25

    The Internet is like coming to a strange five-way intersection that you’ve never seen before. No matter which way you decide to go, you’re bound to find something new and different. So as we were looking for something else, we stumbled upon this video of 7-year-old go-kart racer Ryan Rifredi in a race from December…

  18. Button has faith in Haas Formula and second US GP

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

    2009 world champion believes that if anyone can make an American F1 team work, it’s Gene Haas.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

More from NASCAR America

The new faces of NASCAR

Featured video

Paddock Pass: Inside the Chinese GP
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. McMurray (16656)
  2. K. Harvick (5707)
  3. M. McDowell (2917)
  4. C. Edwards (1519)
  5. A. Seuss (1378)