The Verizon IndyCar Series could take a suggestion from its drivers to rubber-in the high racing line ahead of the April 7 race at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
With the series’ move to new, lower downforce bodywork this year, and its call to restrict teams to a more modest amount of aerodynamic assistance at the one-mile oval during recent testing, drivers were forced to run a single, lower line in the corners as small pieces of tire debris littered the high line.
The solution to opening a second, higher line in the corners could come from a device – referred to as a ‘tire dragon’ – that has been used at ovals like Texas Motor Speedway and Gateway Motorsports Park to replicate the transfer of rubber from a race tire to the track surface.
The unit, which is towed behind a truck, takes mounted race tires and uses hydraulic rams to squash the rubber – Firestones, in this instance – into the track where cars would not normally venture due to the tire debris. With a proper amount of rubber laid down, the debris would be less of a concern – especially with cars routinely traveling over the second lane.
It’s believed IndyCar is interested in contracting one of the ‘tire dragon’ service providers the week of the race to lay down Firestone rubber which, if successful, could make passing an easier proposition than has been seen since the series returned to the circuit in 2016.
To give drivers a chance to practice running on the high line, and to further assist in the rubber transfer, IndyCar is also said to be considering the addition of a special, 30-minute session ahead of the race. Drivers would be given an extra set of tires to navigate the oval while being restricted to using the second lane.