Cooler heads prevail as IndyCar drivers test at Texas (VIDEO)

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A few days after tempers flared among some of the Verizon IndyCar Series competitors in Long Beach, 18 car/driver combinations took part in a test session this afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway.

Sunday’s race featured multiple incidents that caused a noticeable amount of anger. But if there’s any place on the IndyCar circuit that isn’t conducive to acts of revenge, it’s the high-banked and hyper-fast 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth.

Tony Kanaan was one of several affected by Sunday’s multi-car crash on Lap 54, which began when Ryan Hunter-Reay made contact with Josef Newgarden while trying to take the lead from him in Turn 4.

Kanaan was one of several cars that crashed when they made their way into that particular corner. But while the reigning Indianapolis 500 champion figures that some payback among the drivers may eventually come, he also said that “mistakes happen.”

“As far as a driver, in my opinion, you have the right to be mad,” he said according to the Associated Press. “But you have to think about it: It could be you as well. You’re not perfect. You can also make a mistake.”

Kanaan and the other drivers turned laps today to help the INDYCAR sanctioning body figure out aerodynamic options for when the series comes back to TMS in June for the Firestone 600.

According to the series, four possible aero packages were evaluated, but winds of more than 20 miles per hour made for a tough day inside the cockpit.

“With the weather conditions being cool and a lot of wind, it makes things a little more difficult when we come back here,” said defending series champion Scott Dixon in a release.

“You kind of have to go through the big stuff to try and figure out what you may need or tools that you can use when you come back. Typically on a day like this, we would be doing big sweeps to try and figure out what we may need or don’t need. It’s definitely made it challenging.”

Marco Andretti and Ed Carpenter – whose team won last weekend at Long Beach with their road course driver, Mike Conway – will stick around for a second day of testing tomorrow.

Andretti says that the goal is to produce “just a little change” in the aero package that can get them away from the spread-out, single-file racing that ensued in last year’s race at TMS.

“We need that balance to where it’s just before pack racing, where we aren’t doing 190s [miles per hour] at the end of a stint,” he said. “We don’t want that either.

“Somewhere inbetween is a happy medium and that is what we are going for.”

For video and driver reactions from today’s session, check out the video above from TMS.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

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