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IndyCar Iowa I

IndyCar, Dallara produce wheel hub update after Indy 500 flying wheel incident

IndyCar and its technical partner Dallara have provided an update to improve the overall strength and retention of wheel hubs following Kyle Kirkwood’s flying wheel incident at the Indianapolis 500.

Kyle Kirkwood, Andretti Autosport Honda

The updated rear-wheel bearing retaining nut is being distributed to all IndyCar entrants from this weekend’s double-header oval event at Iowa Speedway, where its use will be mandatory. The strength of the part has increased by 60 percent over the previous design.

Revisions to the component came after a “meticulous review” of the Indy 500 incident, where the left-rear wheel assembly of Kirkwood’s Andretti Autosport detached from his car – after he clipped Felix Rosenqvist’s spinning Arrow McLaren car at high speed – and flew over the debris fencing.

Fortunately, it didn’t hit anyone, but the wheel did inflict serious damage to a road car that it landed upon in a lot positioned between the grandstands on the outside of Turn 2. Indianapolis Motor Speedway subsequently gifted the owner of the damaged car, Robin Matthews, a brand-new Chevrolet Equinox following the incident.

“Dallara continues to be a tremendous partner of the NTT IndyCar Series,” said IndyCar president Jay Frye. “Their thorough review process of the incident between the #6 and the #27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway began immediately and included an extensive recreation at their headquarters in Italy.

“IndyCar takes safety very seriously. This update is an important step in making sure an incident like this does not happen again.”

Rear-wheel bearing retaining nut

Rear-wheel bearing retaining nut

Photo by: IndyCar

It was determined that the wheel tether system, using high-performance Zylon material, did not fail in the 28 May incident, which occurred with 14 laps remaining. IndyCar was the first sanctioning body in the United States to require its use.

“It is Dallara's mission, along with IndyCar and all of the racing series we work with, to maintain and continuously improve safety based upon the highest standards,” said Dallara CEO Stefano dePonti. “After completing a detailed analysis of the accident during this year's Indy 500, together with IndyCar we have reached the conclusion that the outcome was the consequence of an unusual and never experienced set of circumstances.

“Nevertheless, we have developed and produced new components that will increase the strength of the corner in case the unlikely sequence of events repeats itself.”

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