SPEEDWAY, Ind. — NASCAR Vice President of Competition Scott Miller and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Track President Doug Boles addressed issues with the curbing in Turn 6 following Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race on the track’s 2.439-mile road course.
The curbing came apart on the right-hand corner on Lap 78 of the scheduled 82-lap race, causing damage to multiple cars and a significant crash involving William Byron, Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Ross Chastain, James Davison, Justin Haley, Ryan Preece and Daniel Suarez.
“Obviously that thing had deteriorated after that last big wreck quite substantially. There was no way we could justify leaving it like it was without removing it,” Miller said. “There was some debate and it obviously had to come out if we were going to continue.”
Miller indicated there was also some debate among NASCAR officials whether to remove the larger sausage curbing that laid adjacent to the damaged curbing, but that was not an option.
“… As we worked through putting the track together for Xfinity (Series) for last year’s race, there was a big ask from the drivers to have something back there because that section was just way too fast, there was that grass and then going into Turn 7 they would have maybe been running 15-20 miles per hour faster,” Miller said. “We weren’t going to sign up for that. That other one had to stay. That was the only way we were going to get back to racing (Sunday).”
A red flag was displayed following the incident, which lasted 19 minutes and 14 seconds as track officials removed the damaged curbing from the racing surface and cleared away oil on the race track. Boles was also out on the track assisting with the cleanup.
“The curbing that delaminated is the same style of curbing that we’ve had since we re-did the road course in 2014, so those curbs have been placed, repaired, so we’ve not really ever had an issue with those curbs at all,” Boles said. “… We looked at that curb between every session, we looked at it at night and in the morning and there was no indication today that there was really anything wrong with that curbing. So, it was a little bit of a surprise for us when the race had started that we started having issues with it.”
Both Boles and Miller noted they don’t feel this will impact any decisions to keep the Cup Series on the road course next year and beyond and they would take this as a learning experience.
“We had our problems (Sunday),” Miller said. “This is one of those deals where you take a lot of learnings away and come back and put on a better event, obviously avoiding the problems that we had (Sunday). I think that we saw some exciting action out there and I think the course itself puts on a really good show.”