INDIANAPOLIS – Wednesday was test day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Normally, most race car drivers aren’t fond of a day long test session. But, when it’s at the famed 2.5-mile oval on the west side of Indianapolis and it’s a test that features the first on track look of the new overhead safety device which will be implemented for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, it’s one that every driver would want to be a part of.
So, Will Power and Scott Dixon felt fortunate to be included to be a part of this test.
While the test could be labeled as somewhat controversial to some open wheel fans, it’s a “game changer” in the racing world.
“Yeah, it’s just little things that need to be worked on that it’s honestly — I’m so happy that we have it,” said Power. “It’s really a huge step in safety, and I think it’s the best of both worlds. You’ve got the halo and you’ve got a screen, so I think that you’ll see other open-wheel categories follow suit because there’s just — you think about it, when you’ve driven it for a day, you’re going to feel naked without it. If you took it off, you’d feel pretty naked because there’s not much protection there. So very happy that we’re moving ahead with it.”
Frye echoed Power’s sentiments. In fact, Frye said that Indy Car got it’s identity back last year and is moving forward to keep them ahead of the safety game.
“To me this is a total industry-changing driver safety solution. So we couldn’t be more proud of this. This to me is a game changer. This is big. The aero kit was obviously very cool. We got our identity back. We like the way it races, all that type of stuff, less downforce, more horsepower, that’s the direction, that’s all good. But I think this is something that will really change the complexion of the sport for a long time to come, so this is big.”
Power, says that this Aeroscreen could in turn expand the driving career now that this safety device is in place.
“Actually, yes, I do think it would prolong a career, make you feel a little safer for sure, yeah, a lot safer. I can remember a couple of times in the last five years on a superspeedway, there had been a big crash — actually Scott’s was one of them, and I actually went like that with my arm, not that that’s going to stop anything, it’s going to kill you. But that’s how much stuff you see flying towards your head and how lucky you really get to get through all that stuff. Any time you’re on a superspeedway and there’s a big crash, it’s just luck really to me. It’s just a matter of time until someone got caught again. So yes, having a family and all that, you probably won’t think about retiring quite so soon.”
Before we talk retirement, how about the now. Both Power and Dixon feel like if there was a race this weekend, this piece is ready to race now. While changes will certainly be made between now and next season, they will be minute. This is race ready at the moment.
“Yeah, you could race this weekend no problem,” Power said. “You could do that. That wouldn’t be an issue. So you know, that shows how well they’ve — what good of a job they’ve done just bolting it straight on. So that’s what you get when you work with the best people in the game.”
“Yeah, totally agree,” said the five-time series champion. “I think as we’ve been working on it today, there’s some configurations that you could adjust, and those might be personal things, as well, but I think it’s spot on. It’s good to go.