IndyCar announces details of side-by-side restarts
Drama will be intensified at IZOD IndyCar Series races this season with the inclusion of side-by-side restarts at all venues, starting with the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 27.
The IZOD IndyCar Series decided to adopt side-by-side restarts on road and street circuits following input from its drivers and teams, complementing the rule on ovals announced Jan. 11 by president of competition and racing operations Brian Barnhart.
"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," Barnhart 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.
"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."
Procedures immediately following a yellow caution period and leading up to resumption of green flag racing at each event include:
· Once an indicator of caution is displayed, cars are grouped single file according to their running order behind the safety car. Any car that has passed the pit commit line at the time the caution is called may proceed without penalty to pit lane for service, blend at pit out and rejoin the field.
· When IZOD IndyCar Series officials declare the pits open, lead-lap cars are eligible to pit (displayed by a plus sign at pit in).
· All remaining cars will pit on the next lap (displayed by a minus sign at pit in). Cars enter and leave pit road at an equal, controlled speed and are placed behind the lead-lap cars in order of when they cross the blend line.
· Once cars are grouped behind the safety car and the race leader is established, all cars between the safety car and the race leader are waved around to take their positions at the rear of the field. This allows lapped cars that did not pit to get one lap back and the race leader to lead the field to the green flag on the restart.
· The race leader will have the option to restart on the left or the right and the second-place car lining up on the opposite side. This only applies to the cars restarting on the front row. The remaining cars will line up side-by-side for the restart as the grid was set for the start of the race (i.e. driver's right or driver's left).
In an effort to lessen the length of caution periods and optimize green flag racing time, the full restart procedure won't be used when a yellow condition is deemed by officials to be short (as for debris), a second yellow that immediately follows a yellow, and during road/street course races when there are none or few lapped cars.
When the full restart procedure is not used, the pits are open to all cars, all cars blend to the back of the field and all cars line up in side-by-side order without regard to lap.
Fans can visit www.indycar.com to voice their opinion on the "free pass" concept.