The organisers of the IndyCar Series have announced a further change in the freshly-revamped restart rules by confirming that two-abreast restarts will now occur at all races this year, instead of being limited to the season’s oval races.
This idea was originally floated when the rules revamp first came into play, but it was shelved on the grounds that a two-by-two formation would be difficult to implement on tighter circuits.
But series boss Randy Barnard has decided that a more consistent policy would be better for the drivers and spectators.
“After seeking input following our initial restart announcement, we felt it was best to be consistent with the rule and use it at every track,” he said. “Whether on short ovals, superspeedways, temporary circuits or road courses, side-by-side restarts will certainly be entertaining and further intensify our on-track action.
Barnard also confirmed further tweaks to the racing rules during caution periods. The pit entry will now be closed when a caution period is thrown before being reopened in a two-stage process: the first phase will be to open the pit lane for cars on the lead lap, and the second phase will be to open the pit lane for lapped cars.
Lapped competitors who do not pit will be waved past the pace car rejoin at the rear of the field and on the lead lap for the restart, although this rule will only be exercised during longer safety car periods when it is practical to do so.
Barnard also announced that the series was considering whether to implement a NASCAR-style ‘free pass’ rule to allow the first lapped car to regain its lost lap during the caution period, but he has asked for fans’ input into this decision.
“We are still contemplating adding a ‘free pass’ element, often referred to as ‘lucky dog’ by TV commentators, to the restart procedure but we want to hear from the fans,” he added.
[Original image via LAT]