Max Chilton finally secures first Indy Lights podium with Carlin at Barber

1 Comment

It took a bit later than likely he or the Carlin team anticipated, but ex-Marussia F1 driver Max Chilton finally secured his first podium in the fifth race of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park.

Chilton finished fifth behind teammate and then-points leader Ed Jones in Saturday’s Round 4. In Sunday’s Round 5, Chilton held off a hard-charging Felix Serralles in one of Belardi Auto Racing’s entries for third place.

The podium for Chilton is his first overall since winning the Singapore feature round in GP2 in 2012, then driving for Marussia Carlin GP2.

The driver of Trevor Carlin’s No. 14 Dallara IL-15 Mazda said it was a tougher task than anticipated given Serralles was on fresh Cooper Tires for race two.

“We were slightly on the back foot this weekend compared to previous races,” Chilton said post-race at Barber. “I was a bit unlucky in qualifying, I should have been second, but I had a gearshift problem. I had to make sure I brought it home both races.

“Yesterday we didn’t have the speed. Today the big change occurred and I felt we could really attack. Serralles was on new ‘boots’ behind me, and he caught us pretty rapidly. But to be fair to the series, the push to pass is really effective, so if you’re strict with yourself, it it’s easy to defend if you use it in the right place.

“I knew I had the speed on him if I could not keep looking in my mirrors. But occasionally he’d get behind me and I’d look and see Jack (Harvey) pulling away. It was a cat and mouse game. It’s a shame Serralles had new tires, otherwise Jack and I could have had a really good race.”

What followed next in the press conference was a bit of good-natured humor as Chilton adapted to the friendliness of a North American media center.

“I find in this series it changes hugely per lap. So you can think you’re clear in the first sector and then in the third you find someone up your ass,” he said to a bit of laughter.

Upon catching himself, Chilton added, “It’s really sort of challenging. I’m not gonna use that (word) in America. Sorry! This series does have exciting racing and hopefully we put on a show for everyone.”

Per Trackside Online, Chilton will return to Carlin for both the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Indianapolis 500 weekends.

He is tentatively slated to miss the Toronto round of the season as it conflicts with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the race where the new Nissan GT-R LM NISMO LMP1 car is due to make its race debut.

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.