The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Houston GP organizers planning smooth IndyCar race after bumpy 2013

  • Print

HOUSTON - Organizers of the Grand Prix of Houston said Monday they are planning a much smoother race this season after bumps on the road course caused a series of problems last year.

Building a course within a city poses a number of challenges, but the track is not expected to add obstacles. Last year, a bump on turn one turned the event and points standings upside down. Points leader Helio Castroneves bottomed out in the second race on that turn, destroying his gearbox and ending a weekend that saw his 49-point lead vanish.

Less than a year later, race organizers are working to turn NRG Park into an IndyCar track. And they don't anticipate fresh problems in turn one.

"Monday of this week we demolished that part of the race track and poured new concrete so it's gone," says Martyn Thake, who is overseeing the construction of the course. "It wasn't like that the year before when we came and tested it. It was unfortunate and we at least were able to address it so we could continue running last year. It threw our schedule off but we've done it before and we got it licked."

Last year, construction around Reliant Park could not begin until after the Houston Texans' Sept. 29 game. Once the bump in the asphalt was discovered, IndyCar was forced to delay track activity and erect a chicane of tires that drivers had to go around during two practice sessions. That worked until Josef Newgarden hit the chicane, knocking it into the path of Castroneves.

Track officials spent all night grinding the bump, but it never solved the problem. And in the second race, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti was hurt in a career-ending crash that also injured 13 fans and an IndyCar Series official.

This year's races are June 28-29, well before the NFL season, giving Thake and his crew ample time to address any issues.

"The bump on turn one was unexpected," managing director Austin Crossley said. "We've been working very closely with IndyCar, we've gone around the track and we've repaired the big bump on turn one and smoothed out some other areas and we think we'll be ready here in a couple of weeks."

Crossley said construction will be done in time to get cars on the track well ahead of the race, instead of in the middle of the night like last year. The hope is that the focus this year is on the racing and not the topography of the course.

"We got through both races (last year), but it's going to be much nicer this year that there won't be a bump there," said Team Penske driver Will Power, who won the second race last year. "Street course racing's our best racing. It's aggressive. It's a great, fun track for racing and it's your typical awesome street course where a lot of action happens."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Lauren Bacall 'loved' working in Canada

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Geese take cover in long grass in the Tuxedo Business Park near Route 90 Wednesday- Day 28– June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who has been the Bombers MVP so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google