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IndyCar rules change intent on changing pitstop strategy
Implementation of two rules for the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season will provide teams additional race strategy options.

• Entrants will choose the amount of E85 in their 18.5-gallon fuel cell to start each of the 19 races from corresponding allotments based on 2012 fuel mileage. Previously, each entrant’s fuel cell was at capacity when it was moved to the starting grid.
• Tire usage during the three segments of road/street qualifying is limited only by an entrant’s allocation. For road/street course qualifying in 2012, only one set of tires was allowed during each of the three segments.

Officials of INDYCAR, the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series, made the rulebook alteration for fuel election to encourage entrants to race every lap and provide options for the start of the races.

“We looked at the length of the races in terms of the fuel windows to try to make the race a length that they couldn’t run lean and stretch a tank of fuel and miss a pit stop,” said Trevor Knowles, director of engine development, INDYCAR. “Also, somebody starting further down the grid might want to start off a bit light and work their way to the front in expectation of a yellow flag when they could come in and fill up.”

Fuel allotment for the superspeedway races (Indianapolis, Pocono, Texas, Auto Club Speedway) is based on 4 mpg for the race distance, which includes parade and pace laps. For the 13 road/street course and short oval (Milwaukee, Iowa) races, the fuel allotment is based on 3 mpg for the race distance.

Race distances have been altered at St. Petersburg (+10 laps to 110/198 miles), Long Beach (-5 laps to 80/157.4 miles), Milwaukee (+25 laps to 250/250 miles) and Mid-Ohio (+5 laps to 90/203 miles) to match fuel windows.

Movement to discourage fuel mileage races started in August 2012 at Sonoma when the race distance was upped five laps to 85 following changes that added a half mile to the road course to 2.385 miles.

Similarly, Firestone tire options will be available to entrants during street/road course qualifications and races.

Carried over from 2012 is one set of new (sticker) alternate tires and one set of primary tires must be used for at least two laps during each single-race road/street course event. With the introduction to doubleheaders at Detroit, Toronto and Houston, one set of alternate tires and one set of primary tires must be used for at least two laps in each race.

“By being able to choose at some tracks, ‘Do I use all my new tires in qualifying in an effort to guarantee myself a better position or do I think I’m better off saving new tires for the race?’ is what we’ve opened up by allowing the strategy to become more involved,” INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips said. “It will hopefully make for a more exciting qualifying show and better race.”

Tire allotment for road/street course events has been set at a maximum of five sets of primary and three sets of alternates for the single events (except St. Petersburg, where six sets of primary tires is the maximum) and a maximum of nine sets of primary and three sets of alternates for doubleheaders. Indianapolis 500 entrants will receive 33 sets of slicks, with Texas (9 sets), Milwaukee (8 sets), Iowa (10 sets), Pocono (13 sets) and Auto Club Speedway (15 sets) completing the oval schedule.

Race distances

Venue Track length Laps
Streets of St. Petersburg 1.8 miles 110
Barber Motorsports Park 2.38 90
Streets of Long Beach 1.968 80
Streets of Sao Paulo 2.536 75
Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.500 200
Streets of Belle Isle * 2.346 70
Texas Motor Speedway 1.500 228
Milwaukee Mile 1.000 250
Iowa Speedway 0.875 250
Pocono Raceway 2.500 160
Streets of Toronto * 1.755 85
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2.258 90
Sonoma Raceway 2.385 85
Streets of Baltimore 2.040 75
Streets of Houston * 1.700 90
Auto Club Speedway 2.000 250

* Doubleheader weekend  IndyCar.com

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