Crash and Burn in the First Hour of Pole DayUPDATE Watch as front engine dirt track driver Bryan Clausen loses control of his rear engine Dallara and wipes it out. Dirt track drivers have always struggled to make the transition to IndyCars. Dirt track racing is not the proper training ground for IndyCar and F1 drivers.
05/19/12 The DW12 IndyCar chassis has finally been crash tested. While there were a few smaller crashes on the road / street courses, there hadn't been a major hard impact. Bryan Clauson's tire dipped below the white line in the south short chute, the rear end wagged a bit, and Clauson slapped the end of turn 2. The undertray of the car -- that massive "shelf" section between the front tires and the side pods -- wedged itself under the SAFER barriers and took some time to remove.
Clauson, the USAC star that is being given a "scholarship" to help him get into IndyCar, was uninjured. The car will need to be repaired, since Clauson doesn't have a backup car.
Did Dallara crash test the DW12? The answer, according to email from Dallara, is "yes" but only if you think that crash testing individual components, plus computer simulations, is "crash testing". If you mean, "did you take a completed DP12 and crash it into a simulation of a wall at Indy", the answer would be "no."
It is amazing what engineers tell drivers the strangest things. Graham Rahal discussed, at great length, that the hot temps of the later runs should help his car, because the high temps reduce downforce and drag. Of course, this has never been the case in Indy qualification, but hey, it *might* be true now -- but it wasn't for Rahal. The Honda motors were seemingly close to the Chevy motors before the added boost, and now it's clear that the Chevy motors like the added boost a bit more than the Honda motors.
Graham did say that the difference between 5th and 6th gears in his car was maybe 70 RPM at the end of the front stretch -- but that is all the difference in the world. In his case, 6th gear was too tall, and in Rahal's opinion dropped his speed by roughly 1 mph. Tim Wohlford
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