One of Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s more prominent new upgrades has arrived.
A scoring pylon comprised of four LED video panels has been installed along the frontstretch, just in time for this weekend’s NASCAR and IMSA events.
It replaces the track’s “second-generation” pylon that had been in place since 1994. When that particular pylon was taken down, IMS president J. Douglas Boles talked about how the new pylon would better serve fans in attendance.
“We’re trying to take all the information that we can gather and send it to our fans in the seats,” he said. “We think this is a lot better way to deliver information to our fans and we can actually make the numbers a little bit bigger so that they can be seen from Turn 1 and Turn 4.
“The top will be able to really show the drivers when we go yellow. Right now, if you think about the old pylon, it just had those two rotating yellow lights, so this will have a yellow ribbon at the top that will flash, allowing drivers to see from a long distance away when the track goes yellow as well.”
Today, the track tweeted out photos of the new pylon and several of its video animations.
Additionally, NASCAR social media humorist @NASCARcasm has put up a funny comparison between the new pylon and Verizon IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson – who, at 6-foot-4, is known as one of the taller drivers in the IndyCar paddock.
MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
- 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
- 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish
Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.
While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.
Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.
Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.
In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.