The strange ballet of NTT IndyCar Series drivers pulling away from their road or street course pit stall at the end of a session and returning moments later will come to a halt in most cases this year.
For the sake of simplicity, IndyCar has modified a provision for segment extensions in the 2020 rulebook which will remove their use in first and second practice sessions, and the warmup. Segment extensions remain unchanged in the third practice session – just prior to qualifying – and in all phases of the Firestone Fast 12 and Fast Six knockout rounds.
With the use of segment extensions in every road/street session through 2019, the series relied on Rule 22.214.171.124 to ensure drivers were given one guaranteed timed lap in the event of a long caution or red flag consuming a considerable amount of time towards the end of that session.
If, for example, a driver crashed with 10 minutes left to run, and the circuit was cleared and readied for action with 15 seconds remaining on the clock, IndyCar would hold the field during the cleanup process and wave the green flag to allow drivers to complete one timed lap before making an immediate return to the pits and ending the session.
Under the new plan, and with little to gain during those brief one-lap excursions, IndyCar will wave the checkered flag on the opening two practice sessions and the warmup, and send its teams back to the paddock.