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DATE News (chronologically)
04/08/11
irl
IndyCar officials may tweak double-file restart format
Will IndyCar drivers show more talent in Alabama than they showed two weeks ago in St. Pete with Andretti on his head?
Marco Andretti figures it's just a matter of time before there's another big wreck.

Andretti was in the middle of the first big wreck of the IZOD IndyCar Series two weeks ago in St. Petersburg. With the field lined up double file at the start and going hard into Turn 1, Andretti ended up upside down before he even got started.

And he'd like to see the series make some changes to the double-file restarts it began this year to avoid a repeat of St. Pete.

"Last race it was Helio (Castroneves) and I," Andretti said Thursday of his wreck. "This week it'll be somebody else."

Series officials are listening to the concerns of drivers like Andretti and considering making at least one change.

Drivers would like to see the acceleration point - the spot on the track during a restart when drivers can hit the gas - moved further away from the start-finish line. The acceleration point was moved closer to the start-finish line at St. Pete to keep the cars in the proper starting order when they reached the start-finish line.

That, Andretti and Castroneves said Thursday at Barber Motorsports Park, would give the field more time and space to get sorted out before reaching Turn 1 and avoid what Castroneves calls "an accordion effect" of cars piling up.

Brian Barnhart, IndyCar's head of race operations, spoke with several drivers on Thursday at Barber and will decide on Friday whether to keep the acceleration point at Barber where it was last year - at the start of the straightaway coming out of the final turn - or move it closer like in St. Pete.

"I think we need to adjust," said Castroneves, who sees great potential for cars in the back plowing into cars in the front on restarts. "The front row, Row 2, Row 3. That's where the action should be, not further back."

But even a tweak to the restart format might not prevent a big wreck on a restart late in the race with drivers anxious to take advantage of one of the best opportunities to pass at Barber.

And if that happens?

"Great for the fans," Castroneves said. "Big wreck." AL.com

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