INDIANAPOLIS – Several Verizon IndyCar Series teams took to the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway on Thursday for some more testing in the new 2018 car. The test was designed to see if they can find the right package for the cars for when they return back in June. While there’s still more testing on the docket for the series in Texas, this was slated to be the first shot at trying to get a package right.
From 2012 to 2016, the racing at Texas was less than ideal. The tire degradation would only allow very few cars to finish on the lead lap. The lap times and tire fall off was huge. The passing, well that was few and far between.
Last year, the racing was back to pack racing. That was too far the other way. The series is now hoping they can meet in the middle. Today, was the first try at it.
Unfortunately, the first big crash of the new car occurred instead.
The day was windy and unseasonably cool. That aided in Takuma Sato making a massive impact with the Texas SAFER barriers. Keep in mind I said barriers, as in plural.
Sources have confirmed that Sato hit the Turn 2 SAFER barrier and immediately shot into the inside wall on the backstretch. Then, his No. 30 Honda shot back to the outside wall for a third impact, and rode the wall all the way until he came to a rest in between Turns 3 and 4.
Luckily, despite such a massive hit, Sato was able to walk away and is uninjured.
But, it was still a heavy impact, the biggest one since the new car has debuted.
We saw our fair share of incidents in the season opener last weekend in St. Pete, but none were huge impacts with the wall. Rookie Matheus Leist got into the concrete barriers, but the hit was nothing like what Sato experienced on Thursday.
The good news is he isn’t injured.