Indy 500: Drivers Unsure of 2-Abreast Restarts

On Sunday May 29, INDYCAR fans will see NASCAR-style restarts at the Indianapolis 500. The two-abreast restart, a common practice in NASCAR races, is new to INDYCAR, and could just be what determines the race.

Despite the endorsement by INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard, drivers don’t like the idea of the two-abreast restart. Many of the drivers are complaining that the track is simply too narrow for this type of restart.

The NASCAR-style restarts in the first four races led to a number of first-turn crashes. Those races were all street and road courses. The Indianapolis 500, on the other hand, is a narrow 2 and a half mile oval track.

The fans, however, are loving the idea. It puts the cars in closer competition, aiding in the excitement of the race. The two-abreast restart adds to that thrill of the flying start that is so loved by INDYCAR fans.

In the old days, it was 3-abreast. Today, though, the cars are wider and faster. The narrow Indianapolis Motor Speedway can’t hold 3 across. It has, however, been shored up with a protective safety barrier. With restart speeds of no more than 115 mph and 60 feet between each row, the restarts should be as safe here as anywhere else, according to INDYCAR officials.

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