Indy 500 test update: Thursday delayed for track drying after work on pit warmup lane

·2 min read

INDIANAPOLIS – Track maintenance crews at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway worked overnight to treat the hazardous area of the pit warmup lane where three incidents occurred during Wednesday’s Indy 500 test.

According to IndyCar officials, extensive tire dragging, and brushing was performed using two 800-pound tractor tires to put rubber down and remove any extra Rapid Penetrating Emulsion (RPE) treatment.

RPE was used on the track in 2018 to seal the surface. The pit warmup lane had that treatment applied over this offseason, and track president Doug Boles told the Indy Star later Wednesday night that the application might have factored into the lack of grip that caused three spins Wednesday.

Boles said during Thursday’s Peacock broadcast that the track had worked on dragging tires across the pit warmup lane until just before 1 a.m. ET Thursday.

The sealant was developed at Purdue University in nearby West Lafayette, Indiana. A key part of what makes RPE effective is its penetrating, air-void-filling capability. Unlike a crack seal that simply covers the surface of a crack, RPE soaks into the pavement itself and decreases the permeability of the surface to which it’s applied.

Heavy rain swept through the Indianapolis area overnight and ended around 9 a.m. ET Thursday, delaying the scheduled 10 a.m. start for Thursday’s session (which will be televised on Peacock).

The plan for this morning is to dry the track, and Firestone officials then will re-scan the warmup lane and evaluate the affected areas.

“We’ll wait for it to dry off and have Firestone tell us where we are,” Boles said on Peacock.

IndyCar is anticipating an improvement from last night’s treacherous conditions that saw former Indy 500 winners Alexander Rossi, Helio Castroneves and Will Power lose control of their cars on the pit warmup lane in three separate spins during Wednesday’s test session.

Boles said he had called the drivers involved in the incidents to apologize and ensure they understood the accidents weren’t their fault.

“I don’t want them thinking in the back of their mind that they think it was them,” Boles said. “We’re going to fix it.”

If Firestone’s evaluation shows positive results, testing will resume Thursday. Day 2 originally was scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, and IndyCar has the option to extend the test session to ensure six hours of running time.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500

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