IndyCar allowing teams to make brake cooling tweaks for Houston

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Considering the prospect of warm conditions for the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston on Oct. 4-6, INDYCAR is allowing teams to make changes in order to create better brake cooling for their cars.

A bulletin sent out late last week says that the teams are now permitted to trim the end plate wicker on the front wing. Additionally, teams can modify both front and rear brake ducts, as well as brake duct backing plates.

These changes are designed to increase cooling to the caliper and rotor areas.

“Based on what we saw at Baltimore, where we saw the hottest temperatures of the year, and with hot temperatures expected again in Houston, we’ve decided to allow these changes to help teams improve cooling to the brakes,” INDYCAR president of competition and operations Derrick Walker said in a statement from INDYCAR.

These tweaks will only be in effect for the Houston doubleheader, which will see the IZOD IndyCar Series stage 90-lap events on Sat., Oct. 5 and Sun., Oct. 6.

Both races can be seen live on NBCSN, with coverage starting at 3 p.m. ET on Oct. 5 and at 1 p.m. ET on Oct. 6.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.