INDIANAPOLIS -- IndyCar officials may be about to give the series a retro look and bring back the chase for track records at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles and Derrick Walker, the new head of IndyCar competition, emerged from a competition advisory board meeting Thursday to announce they were debating how to top the record-breaking speeds clocked in 1996 by two-time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk.
"I hope I get to be a part of that," this year's Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter Ed Carpenter said. "I definitely have the memories of Tom Carnegie calling, 'New track record,' and that means something to me. It's cool. I think it would be cool if we got to that point again. I'd like to hear somebody say, 'New track record,' over the P.A. system."
Carpenter, the only owner-driver in the series, grew up around the track as the stepson of IndyCar founder and former speedway executive Tony George.
The goal is simple: Break Luyendyk's records for fastest official lap at Indianapolis (237.498 mph) and fastest four-lap qualifying average (236.986). After series officials changed the specs to disallow turbo-charged engines in 1997, nobody has come close. Last season, after bringing back the turbochargers with less horsepower than drivers had in the early to mid-1990s, Indy's pole-winning speed was 226.484 m.p.h. Speeds were up a bit this year as Carpenter captured his first pole at 228.762.
Some believe steady improvements will continue to push speeds up by 2 m.p.h. to 3 m.p.h. over the next few years, putting drivers within reach of the record without adding any more boost to the engines, something series officials could do right now if they wanted.
But that's not how Walker wants to proceed. First, committee members hope to modify the aerodynamic kits. Walker said that decision needs to be made soon because manufacturers will then get one year to develop the kits and get them on the track.
There are concerns, though.
"The biggest thing is being safe going at those speeds," said 22-year-old American Josef Newgarden.
-- The Associated Press