IndyCar drivers breath sigh of relief after wing change

Like Indy, the rear wing is laid flat at TMS

A rule change had the Izod IndyCar Series drivers excited about the handling of the cars Friday. But they compromised a little after qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway.

The series had approved, at the drivers' urging, a limit of minus-5 degrees to the wings, which would give the cars less downforce, or grip to the track. The drivers said that gave them more control, which they want for a race on a high-banked oval where pack racing can be dangerous.

But after qualifying, the drivers and series officials approved the use of a 1/8-inch "wicker" to add back about 125 pounds of downforce.

"It was the hardest qualifying I've ever done," said Dario Franchitti, the Indy 500 champion who is starting second. "I would prefer just a fraction more, but if this is what we're racing, that's fine."

Franchitti got his preference shortly afterward, and the cars practiced with the wicker, a spoiler that can be added or removed from the back of the front and rear wings.

Franchitti said at least the drivers have more control of the car now than they would with maximum downforce.

"We've made the cars harder to drive, which means that you kind of control your own destiny rather than sitting there five-deep in a pack and maybe becoming a victim of other people's mistakes," he said. "It'll be unlike any race we've seen here in a long time." Star-Telegram

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