Double-file restarts draw mixed reviews at Indy
The double-file restarts drew cheers from fans and a mixed reaction from drivers.
But in the end, the new wrinkle created excitement.
For the first time, the Indianapolis 500 switched from traditional single-file restarts to two-wide action after cautions.
Whether it was apprehension of something horrific or anticipation of something spectacular, the change created some stunning moments during Sunday's 100th anniversary race. On the next-to-last restart, cars were four-wide heading into turn one, creating a roar from the fans at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"The double-file restarts were a little frantic, but fortunately they did a great job of sweeping the track so we could race side-by-side, so that was quite fun," Justin Wilson said.
"All credit to IndyCar and the Speedway because it allowed us to go racing, and I enjoyed it."
"What I'm looking at is the fans' reaction to it, and the fans love it," IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said as he watched the race. "That's the reaction I want to see. Everyone seems to be enjoying them, and the drivers are doing a great job with them."
Not everyone considered themselves converted, even a little, to the idea the restarts are a good idea on a track as fast as the Speedway's 2.5-mile oval.
"I'm going to be very frank about that and say they're trying to kill somebody," Marco Andretti said. "I'm glad it's great for the fans, but the risk where we're at is just ridiculous."
Andretti wasn't alone.
"Restarts were a joke," Scott Dixon said. "Why do you have everyone in a pack? Pippa Mann, you could see she's just trying to hold on and was put into a situation she shouldn't be in with the last two restarts. They really need to spread it out."
Only during the first restart, when EJ Viso made contact with rookie James Hinchcliffe was there an incident, and Viso said that wasn't due to the restarts but due to trying to get around a slower car.
"The restarts are just like all hell is breaking loose," Townsend Bell said. "I was down to like third gear and had a run going and all of a sudden everybody is slamming on the brakes and you're spread out and I'm down-shifting. It was just weird. What can you do? It happens." Indy Star