Luca Filippi working toward IndyCar full-season chance


AUSTIN – After impressing again in limited appearances in the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series, Italian Luca Filippi is looking to work toward a full-season effort in 2015.

Filippi raced in four 2014 events with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and along with Oriol Servia, were really the only two part-time drivers in the past season. No other drivers ran more than two events beyond the standard 22 full-time cars.

He made the Firestone Fast Six at Houston qualifying fourth, in his first time in an IndyCar since Houston the previous October, some eight months previous.

Now, Filippi told MotorSportsTalk in Austin he is keen on having a full-season opportunity. A year ago, jumping in short notice at Houston and Toronto was less than ideal for him, but it still provided him a showcase after his missing out at the Bryan Herta Autosport seat.

“Ideally, I want to do a full season,” he said. “It was nice, but it would be better to have a full buildup before getting in the car.”

Filippi seeks to use some of his technical expertise – he has done tire testing and development with Pirelli – to use as the series heads toward a season of new aero kits.

“They have to be careful to not lose the competition (with the aero kits),” Filippi explained. “You have such a great championship and you can just get in, go, and become competitive. The platform is there to succeed right away.”

He has spent this year doing the aforementioned Pirelli tire testing and doing F1 commentary work for Europe’s Sky Sports.

Roger Penske discusses flying tire at Indy 500 with Dallara executives: ‘We’ve got to fix that’


INDIANAPOLIS – Roger Penske spoke with Dallara executives Monday morning about the loose tire that went flying over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway catchfence and into a Turn 2 parking lot.

The left-rear wheel from Kyle Kirkwood’s No. 27 Dallara-Honda was sheared off in a collision at speed as Kirkwood tried to avoid the skidding No. 6 Dallara-Chevrolet of Felix Rosenqvist on Lap 183 of the 107th Indianapolis 500.

No one seriously was hurt in the incident (including Kirkwood, whose car went upside down and slid for several hundred feet), though an Indianapolis woman’s Chevy Cruze was struck by the tire. The Indy Star reported a fan was seen and released from the care center after sustaining minor injuries from flying debris in the crash.

During a photo shoot Monday morning with Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden at the IMS Yard of Bricks, Penske met with Dallara founder and owner Gian Paolo Dallara and Dallara USA CEO Stefano dePonti. The Italian company has been the exclusive supplier of the current DW12 chassis to the NTT IndyCar series for 11 years.

“The good news is we didn’t have real trouble with that tire going out (of the track),” Penske, who bought Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2020, told a few reporters shortly afterward. “I saw it hit. When it went out, I saw we were OK. I talked to the Dallara guys today. We’re going to look at that, but I guess the shear (force) from when (Rosenqvist’s) car was sitting, (Kirkwood’s car) went over and just that shear force tore that tether. Because we have tethers on there, and I’ve never seen a wheel come off.

“That to me was probably the scariest thing. We’ve got to fix that. We’ve got to fix that so that doesn’t happen again.”

Asked by NBC Sports if IndyCar would be able to address it before Sunday’s Detroit Grand Prix or before the next oval race at Iowa Speedway, Penske said, “The technical guys should look at it. I think the speed here, a couple of hundred (mph) when you hit it vs. 80 or 90 or whatever it might be, but that was a pinch point on the race.”

In a statement released Monday to WTHR and other media outlets, IndyCar said that it was “in possession of the tire in Sunday’s incident and found that the tether did not fail. This is an isolated incident, and the series is reviewing to make sure it does not happen again. IndyCar takes the safety of the drivers and fans very seriously. We are pleased and thankful that no one was hurt.”

IndyCar provided no further explanation for how the wheel was separated from the car without the tether failing.

IndyCar began mandating wheel suspension tethers using high-performance Zylon material after a flying tire killed three fans at Charlotte Motor Speedway during a May 1, 1999 race. Three fans also were struck and killed by a tire at Michigan International Speedway during a July 26, 1998 race.

The IndyCar tethers can withstand a force of more than 22,000 pounds, and the rear wheel tethers were strengthened before the 2023 season.