Indianapolis Motor Speedway isn't open for on-track activities on May 22, but today is the day that qualified teams may change to their race engines, provided they are full-season entries that are not here for an Indianapolis 500-only effort or did not change engine manufacturers, as did Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold (Chevy), Team Barracuda BHA (Honda) and the pair of Dragon Racing entries, who are running Chevrolet power after starting the season with Lotus engines.
The IZOD IndyCar Series has decided to keep boost levels for all engines at 130 kPa for the 200-lap race on Sunday, which will likely be held under the warmest conditions The Greatest Spectacle in Racing has ever seen; temps are supposed to be close to 100 with considerable humidity. The teams were allowed to run 140 kPa for Fast Friday and for Saturday and Sunday's qualifying sessions, returning to standard boost levels once qualifying was complete.
"After evaluating a variety of options and speaking with all engine manufacturers, we feel it is best from a both a competition and safety standpoint to maintain the current superspeedway boost level for our Lotus-powered entrants," said Will Phillips, INDYCAR'S vice president of technology.
"At this point, there are too many unknown variables in allowing an engine to run a full-race distance at the increased boost level, so it's something we are going to need to explore further. At the beginning of the season we mandated there would be no changes to performance regulations prior to June 18, and we plan to maintain that time frame."
Beaux Barfield, president of competition for INDYCAR added: "From a safety standpoint, we will be keeping a close eye on speeds as the race progresses to ensure that all cars are within 105 percent of the race leader's pace. We want to make sure that we are managing the speeds and car placement as the drivers navigate through traffic."
All teams are using larger turbine housings on their turbochargers for this race, at Texas Motor Speedway next month and in the series finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA in September. Those have been fitted since the race meeting began a week and a half ago.
At the same time, INDYCAR announced it has fined the No. 5 Citgo Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone Indy car driven by EJ Viso and fielded by KV Racing Technology for a post-qualifying rules infraction. The team will pay $25,000 for not complying with Rule 14.12.3 which states: "Any devices designed to push or pull back caliper pistons or pads is not permitted (Pull back brakes in any form are not permitted)."
On another, more pleasant level, Josef Newgarden was honored on May 22 as the fastest rookie in the field of 33. This year there are eight rookies in the field. Newgarden, 22, racing Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing's No. 67 Dollar General Honda qualified seventh at 224.037 mph on Pole Day and was one of the Fast Nine eligible for pole position.
He was recognized by the AmericanDairy Association of Indiana. "It all comes down to the team, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing," Newgarden said. "I think they did a great job of giving (fellow rookie) Bryan (Clauson) and me comfortable, quick and reliable race cars, and without that it's difficult to be quick around this place. We've had a strong car all month. Now we just have to finish it off in the race."