Event Coverage: 2019 Indianapolis 500
Kyle Kaiser Quali
On the opposite of McLaren and Carlin was Juncos Racing with Kyle Kaiser. This was the car that ultimately bumped Alonso and the shockwave could be felt all over Indianapolis. Juncos had a miserable May: right before the GP, Juncos’ primary sponsor reneged on their Indy 500 deal and left the team, leaving Juncos on a suddenly tight budget. To add to those woes, Kaiser crashed the car on Fast Friday, the day before the cars were set yo qualify. Not only was this a major financial setback for the Juncos team, but it meant an all night scramble to build up the team’s road course car into speedway trim. This car would ultimately be slower than the original car: teams are heavily restricted in what they can adjust and modify so small details like body fitment and even bearing modification are important for finding bits of speed. All of that special preparation was now in the scrap heap and Juncos would be forced to roll the dice.
Kyle Kaiser Race
Roll the dice they did, and they were able to bump their way into the field by a tiny 0.007 MPH. But once they had made it into the field, the absolutely barren car was suddenly flooded with support. Four major sponsors signed onto the team between qualifying and race day. Just check out how many new stickers there are! Juncos making the field was a definite highlight of the month. It was a shame that Kaiser crashed out in the race (though he damn near saved it and if he hadn’t been countersteering, he would have done a full 360 spin and kept going much like Danny Sullivan in 1985), but he was running well before his shunt.
Pippa Mann
Another feel good story from qualifying and into the race was Pippa Mann. Pippa was also bumped from the 2018 500 and wanted to come back with a vengeance. She entered the 2019 race with a new team and a new-to-her sponsor: Driven 2 Save Lives, a charity that pushes racing fans to become organ donors. Driven 2 Save Lives touts the lives saved by racers Justin Wilson and Bryan Clauson, who were both organ donating drivers who were killed in racing. Pippa was not only able to make the field, but she finished 16th, her best ever Indy 500 result. The team she was running for was Clauson-Marshall Racing, the team built to give the late Bryan Clauson his USAC career. The 2019 Indy 500 was the teams’ first ever IndyCar race, which means that, yes, they were able to beat the mighty McLaren.
IndyCar Aeroscreen Concept
Justin Wilson was killed at Pocono in 2015 when he was hit in the head by a piece of debris. James Hinchcliffe suffered a similar incident the year before at the first Indianapolis GP, though he only escaped with a concussion. Those accidents in particular drove IndyCar to develop some form of head protection for IndyCars. After initially rejecting the FIA’s Halo, IndyCar tried developing their own windscreen with PPG. When this proved to be too weak to take a larger impact like a car or wheel assembly, IndyCar, along with Red Bull Advanced Technologies, combined the two ideas into one and came up with the concept seen above. This windscreen concept corrects the two biggest complaints of the Halo: the first being that the Halo does not protect against small debris like a wing endplate or a spring. Second, the Halo does not fully enclose the driver’s head, instead sitting low enough that the top or back of the helmet can be struck by debris. IndyCar’s design uses a taller Halo that is tied directly into the roll hoop. This both provides the structural rigidity IndyCar needed, and raises the entire structure enough that the driver’s head is now completely enclosed.
IndyCar Aeroscreen Side View
The main hoop is also higher than the FIA Halo, allowing IndyCar’s drivers to see through the corners on banked ovals. The front of the new Halo bolts to the reinforced area of the tub that the AFP currently resides. To provide cooling and prevent air from curling into the cockpit and pushing the driver’s head forward, a new vanity panel is added to the nose. The new design is currently in the CAD stages, but will be tested later this year and implemented in 2020. IndyCar is working with the FIA in hopes that this could be given FIA approval later, which would pave the way for the new windshield to be used in Formula 1. This is the biggest advancement in IndyCar safety since the SAFER barrier 20 years, and while it is long overdue, I’m really glad that IndyCar really did their homework to patch the literal holes in the Halo’s design.


  1. Some interesting stuff going on with the compressor housing of the turbo…. looks like it has two outlets. Indycar running anti-lag these days?

  2. I don’t think anti-lag is allowed, but they may be using some other method of keeping the turbos spooled. Anti-lag wouldn’t really help at Indy anyway since they’re full throttle through the entire lap. Might be more to do with boost control, which is heavily restricted by IndyCar.

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