June 17, 2024

IndyCar tightens rear wheel retaining nuts for Iowa Speedway after flying tire at Indy 500

For his first oval race since a coin flew over the big stands during the Indy 500, the NTT IndyCar Series will have new rear wheel retaining nuts that are 60 percent stronger this weekend at Iowa Speedway.

IndyCar and Dallara (the series’ exclusive supplier of its DW12 chassis since 2012) announced the mandated safety improvement Wednesday morning after completing a review of the May 28 collision between Kyle Kirkwood and Felix Rosenqvist on Lap 183 of the Indy 500. Kirkwood’s No. 27 Dallara-Honda was traveling about 161 mph when its wheels tangled with the No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet. 6 Rosenqvist (who was traveling westbound at approximately 90 mph), and the impact resulted in the loss of Kirkwood’s left rear wheel assembly.

INDYCAR AT IOWA: Details, schedules to watch this weekend on NBC, Peacock

“Dallas continues to be a great partner of the NTT IndyCar Series,” IndyCar president Jay Frye said in a release. “Their thorough review process of the incident between No. 6 and No. 27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway began immediately and included an extensive rebuild at their headquarters in Italy.

“IndyCar takes safety very seriously. This update is an important step to ensure that an incident like this does not happen again.”

IndyCar reiterated that the wheel string system did not fail in the incident. The IndyCar strings can withstand a force of more than 22,000 pounds, and the rear wheel strings were strengthened ahead of the 2023 season.

The series began mandating wheel suspension strings using high-performance Zylon material after a flying tire killed three fans at Charlotte Motor Speedway during a May 1, 1999 race. Three fans were also struck and killed by a tire at Michigan International Speedway with during a July 26, 1998 race. During the 1987 Indy 500, a man was killed when a loose tire sent a car into the stands at Turn 3 (the latest fan death at IMS).

No one was seriously injured in the Indy 500 incident (including Kirkwood, whose car flipped upside down and slid hundreds of feet), even though a Chevy Cruze hit a woman from Indianapolis at the base. The Indy Star reported fans were seen and he was released from the care center after minor injuries from flying debris in the crash.

IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner, Roger Penske he met the founder and owner of dePonti and Dallara Gian Paolo Dallara on the day after the Indy 500 to discuss the loose wheel that Penske said “was probably the scariest thing. We have to fix that so it doesn’t happen again.”

“Dallara’s mission, along with IndyCar and all the racing series we work with, is to maintain and continuously improve safety based on the highest standards,” Dallara CEO Stefano dePonti said in a release Wednesday. “After a detailed analysis of the accident during this year’s Indy 500, together with IndyCar we came to the conclusion that the result was the result of an unusual set of circumstances that never happened.

“However, we have developed and produced new components that will increase the corner’s strength in case the unlikely sequence of events changes.”

The IndyCar Series will have its only double race weekend of the season at Iowa with Saturday’s race at 3 pm ET and Sunday’s race at 2 pm ET. Coverage will be on NBC and Peacock.

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