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New IndyCar wheel assembly unveiled to prevent debris in grandstands

INDIANAPOLIS — This weekend in Iowa, IndyCar teams will run stronger wheel assembly parts designed to prevent wheels from flying over the catchfence.

IndyCar will require all teams to run a strengthened rear-wheel bearing retaining nut. IndyCar and Dallara claim the strength of the nut has increased by 60% over the previous design.

During the Indianapolis 500, Kyle Kirkwood spun and wrecked, causing his left-rear wheel assembly to go over the catchfence. Luckily it flew through a gap in the grandstands and hit a car, avoiding fans in the stands.

IndyCar President Jay Frye stated Dallara’s investigation “began immediately.” The investigation found “unusual and never experienced set of circumstances” lead to the wheel assembly going over the fence.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Dallara CEO Stefano dePonti touched on the investigation and how it led to the development of the new part:

“It is Dallara’s mission, along with INDYCAR and all of the racing series we work with, to maintain and continuously improve safety based upon the highest standards. After completing a detailed analysis of the accident during this year’s Indy 500, together with INDYCAR, we have reached the conclusion that the outcome was the consequence of an unusual and never experienced set of circumstances.

Nevertheless, we have developed and produced new components that will increase the strength of the corner in case the unlikely sequence of events repeats itself.”

Many, including Will Power, said the tether worked but that it ripped the assembly off of the upright suspension part. IndyCar hopes this change will ensure that doesn’t happen again.

The first Iowa doubleheader race is 250 laps and kicks off at around 4 p.m. ET Saturday. Race two is 300 laps and starts at around 3 p.m. ET Sunday.

NBC and the IndyCar Radio Network will broadcast the races.

Simon Pagenaud celebrates his Iowa INDYCAR 250 win with a burnout at Iowa Speedway. (Credit: Chris Jones/INDYCAR Media)

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