Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

May 20, 2011

Qualifying Weekend is Upon us at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; Kudos to Dallara

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:47 pm

Hats off to the great folks at Dallara for making a car that keeps drivers safe, even in extreme accidents. We can talk about their civic importance to Speedway and their new factory another day. Yesterday their machinery was battle tested again at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when Simona de Silvestro experienced a suspension failure while entering turn 3 at Indy during practice. The failure caused the car to drag the pavement into three, back into the wall, travel through the north chute, get airborne, then strike the fence toward turn four before ending up upside down and on fire down low.

Simona walked away. Other than minor burns on both hands she is fine. The car, which did its job, is destroyed. That makes many sad because HVM is the little team that could. The back-up will not be as good and whether Simona can qualify is an open question.

Many of the more idiotic Indy Car critics have spent fifteen years chiding Dallara for all sorts of things. Ugly. Propensity to fly. You name it. Most of the criticism is simply because it’s not a mid-90s Reynard or Lola and the Indy Car Series is not the twice failed cart.

What matters to me is that drivers walk away or fully recover in the event of bad crashes. Mike Conway and Simona deSilvestro are two reasons why the alignment Indy Car has with Dallara is a great thing.

It’s Fast Friday and a great weekend of qualifying lies straight ahead. If you are a race fan, we will either see you there or on TV!



  1. I know you like to go by “Defender” or “Disciple” but I think I am going to give you your new official name which you will go by from here on out. You shall now and forever be known as “Twice” since that seems to be your favorite word.

    Comment by Gary — May 20, 2011 @ 7:49 pm | Reply

    • Oh, and with regards to the Simona’s crash and the Dallara, I am glad the car did it’s job (which it is supposed to) and she is somewhat ok. It does concern me that the car caught on fire though, that’s two years in a row that Simona has sat in a burning car. I can’t remember any DP01’s catching on fire back in 2007 which is when I started watching Champ Car. Before then I really couldn’t tell you.

      Comment by Gary — May 20, 2011 @ 7:56 pm | Reply

      • Not to overly defend Dallara, because I’m not necessarily in love with the current car, and not to sully the DP-01, because I did like that car, but how many 200+ MPH impacts did the DP-01 suffer in all of 2007? Just saying, let’s compare apples to apples.

        Comment by The Speedgeek — May 21, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

  2. Dear Defender:

    Come now, you can’t be serious with the Dallara comment, can you? F1 requires its teams to develop new cars every year and even NASCAR developed a new car and will introduce newer cars still…of course, these series are flush with cash while Indy Car has barely kept its head above water the last decade…but seriously, how can fans be excited about the same chassis, engine and tire combo year in and year out…look, I wish that the Speedway was open all month and the teams needed the extra time to shake down and break in their cars…problem is, everybody has already gleaned all that they can out of the Dallara and there is nothing left for the teams to learn, unless you are a rookie or ride buyer who needs seat time to avoid really losing control on track…let’s guess on the winner of tomorrow’s pole: You pick Penske and I’ll take Ganassi and we have a 100% chance of picking the right driver/team on pole….do you remember when Rahal missed the cut in a top flight car or when Penske’s crew missed the cut in 1995, just one year after dominating in the Benz 600? Those days are long gone…

    Comment by Neil Rubin — May 20, 2011 @ 10:26 pm | Reply

  3. “Many of the more idiotic Indy Car critics have spent fifteen years chiding Dallara for all sorts of things. Ugly. Propensity to fly. You name it. Most of the criticism is simply because it’s not a mid-90s Reynard or Lola and the Indy Car Series is not the twice failed cart.”

    Most people don’t like the cars because they are a piece of crap. If you look at the mid 90’s Reynard or Lola the Dallara is a clear step backwards, especially in safety. Tony was trying to create the open wheel Nascar and instead all we got were crapwagons.

    Comment by TroyM — May 20, 2011 @ 11:04 pm | Reply

  4. So criticising the Dallara for its propensity to fly makes us idiotic? Are you kidding me?

    Yes, Simona walked away from a bad crash (and by the way, check the video, the car was airborne BEFORE she hit the wall for the first time, then it launched AGAIN). Conway recovered from his bad crash. You might also want to include Dario’s flips at Michigan and Kentucky. Marco at Indy. Kenny Brack at Texas. And Mario’s epic 225 mph blowover at the speedway. But, then again, if it wasn’t for the cars natural tendency to act like a freakin’ airfoil and take off on contact, we wouldn’t have to talk about how safe it was. If the damn thing stayed on the ground, we’re not talking about Simona being upside down and on fire. We’re talking about Conway’s hard shunt into the wall, not his launch into the catch fence. It’s a damn good thing the car IS built like a tank to insure safety when things do go to hell; because its the design of the car that makes things go to hell in the first place. And while I’ve only been watching Indy racing for about 30 years, I can’t remember any chassis that had the propensity to blast off at the slightest contact like the Dallara does. If you could enlighten us, we would all appreciate the knowledge.

    You’re right. Most of the criticism is because the car isn’t a mid-90’s Reynard or Lola. We criticise it because it’s an ugly car, those weren’t. We criticise it because matched with the current engine package, speeds are slower than they were 15 years ago. We criticise it because it flies, and cars aren’t generally supposed to do that. We criticise it because drivers can run flat out all the way around without having to lift (and yes, I realize that lack of horsepower is a part of that. But to us it’s all part of the same car.) . And we criticise it because, in a sport once reknowned for technical innovation, it’s nine freakin’ years old. And for a car that wasn’t particularly well liked in the first place, what the h-e-double hockey sticks do you expect us to do? Write love sonnets about it?

    Editor’s Note: I have never cared what cart apologists think, and yes, my personal feeling is that anyone who chides the Dallara for ‘ugly’ or leaving the ground is an idiot who does not understand either Indy Car or physics.

    Comment by Steven Kornya — May 21, 2011 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

    • Dude, for reals? Really, I think you can say what you will about the aesthetics of the current Dallara (it’s not my favorite race car ever, far from it) or the ease at which it can be driven (it’s clearly not too much of a handful if Milka Duno could make 30+ starts with no high speed wall contact) or the level of horsepower that the current Honda has (it’s like 100 HP less than they had when there were more than one engine manufacturer around), but saying that it’s so much more likely to fly than any other chassis before it does not seem all that well founded to me.

      Personally, I’ve been watching some old 500s on the TiVo lately, and I’ve noticed that the Lolas of the ’80s and ’90s were just about as likely to take off when spun sideways as the current car. And as far as those cars lifting off when they got sideways, if he were still alive, I’d say that you could ask Jim Crawford about it, since he got like 20+ feet of air under his car in practice in 1990. It’s just a matter of physics. A car shaped to make downforce going a high speed in one direction (forward) is pretty likely to make not enough downforce to stay planted on the ground when going that same speed but not that correct direction (big yaw angles, like when it’s spinning). Mind you, I hope that they’re doing some testing on the next car to limit this somewhat, and the presence of the shark fin on the concept Dallaras tells me that they have, but saying that the current takes off mroe than previous cars on a “liftoffs per total chassis miles run over 200 MPH” is probably concentrating on anecdotal evidence.

      Comment by The Speedgeek — May 23, 2011 @ 1:50 pm | Reply

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