Recent Incidents Raise Questions About IndyCar's Safety At Pocono
The NTT IndyCar Series "suffered calamity" on Sunday with another big wreck at Pocono Raceway, and the "question begs" if the series should eventually return with the track's safety issues, according to Zach Stuniolo of the POCONO RECORD. Negotiations are "still ongoing for the series' return there" for '20 and beyond. The track was built for open-wheel racing and is "easily the most technical oval at which IndyCar races." In recent years at Pocono, the "negative results are obvious," including the '15 death of Justin Wilson and the "paralysis of Robert Wickens’ legs last year." The crash on Sunday’s first lap was the "worst thing the sport (and venue) could have hoped for." The "horrifying crash left Felix Rosenqvist and Takuma Sato upside down and Rosenqvist colliding with the catchfence just as the race began, reaffirming the fears with which we entered the event." Driver Scott Dixon "took to the track’s defense after finishing second in Sunday’s race." But at some point, "maybe the writing on the wall must be read" (POCONO RECORD, 8/20).
POINT OF NO RETURN? AUTOWEEK's Matt Weaver noted it remains an "open question if Pocono will return" to the IndyCar schedule in '20. Certainly, the "run of misfortune, and resulting bad vibes, will not instill a vote of confidence" (AUTOWEEK.com, 8/18). The AP's Jenna Fryer wrote IndyCar and its drivers "need a candid discussion on the risk versus reward of returning to Pocono, and track officials need to decide if it’s even worth the hassle." Potentially losing Pocono would be a "blow to IndyCar if it can’t replace the race." The question is "whether it’s worth it anymore" (AP, 8/19).
PLAYING WITH FIRE: In Indianapolis, Tyler Kraft writes under the header, "IndyCar Drivers Split Over Pocono Danger: Is The Track At Fault, Or The Drivers?" (8/20). RACER.com's Robin Miller wrote open-wheel racing is "dangerous," which is "part of the attraction." There was "always a feeling of relief" if drivers left Michigan Int'l Speedway or Texas Motor Speedway "without major injuries because of the high speeds and close racing." It "felt like that Sunday night" leaving Pocono (RACER.com, 8/19).