Herta expects IndyCar to change “really dangerous” Nashville restart zone again


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Colton Herta expects IndyCar to rethink the positioning of the restart zone at the Nashville street circuit after a series of crashes and near-misses at the venue’s second race.

Last year’s inaugural Nashville round was punctuated by a string of caution periods. The same was true of IndyCar’s return to the track on Sunday, despite the restart zone being relocated from its original position to the approach to turn nine.

“I don’t think that restarting on the bridge was a good thing,” said Herta, who finished fifth on Sunday. “I thought the closing speeds were incredibly unsafe and I’m sure that they’re going to probably change it to something else for next year because it was really dangerous.

“Especially going over a bridge like that. You don’t want to go over the back of somebody.”

Herta recovered to finish in the top five despite dropping a lap down at one stage after being pushed into a barrier by Dalton Kellett. The Andretti driver said the tight sequence of corners which precedes the restart area made for significant differences in speeds between the cars at restarts.

“The field spans out so much,” he said. “I got every range of restart. I got a restart where I was 25th or whatever, and then all the way up until I was fourth or fifth. I got all the ranges of restarts.

“Coming from the back, the field through that tight section is so strung out that they’re pushing to get back up. By the time the leader is halfway across the bridge, cars are still going through turn five, six, seven.

“As they come on to the straight, they’re flat out. And it’s a bridge [so] you can’t see what’s over the end of it. So you come over the bridge, and it’s, like, ‘oh, all the cars are going 70 miles an hour, 80 miles an hour’.

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“So I think it’s something that they knew could have been a little bit of a problem, but they wanted to try it out, so we’ll see what they do in the future. I think something has to be adjusted.”

Large speed differences occured at restarts, said Herta
Herta was also concerned about the length of time the race spent under caution, partly due to drivers being waved past the Safety Car in order to rejoin the lead lap.

“Maybe there’s a way to shorten some of the cautions without doing the wave-around every time or whatnot,” he said. “But it’s hard to say because that’s what saved me today, the wave-around.”

However he defended the event from criticism after it produced a second consecutive crash-strewn race.

“It’s not terrible to have a crazy race every now and again,” he said. “And this might be IndyCar, some of the races are snoozers and some of them are really amazing. Some of them are amazing for this reason, because there’s cars going off all the time, you never know who is going to win.”

Despite his concern over the restart zone, Herta described the Nashville track as “fun to drive” and “really challenging.”

“It’s hard enough on a street course to have straight-line braking for a hairpin or really [slow] corner. When you are coming in at 180, and you have braking that’s turning away from the corner, like turn four and turn nine are, it is really challenging because you unload that right front tyre, so it’s really easy to lock and then go into the wall or go into the run-off.

“So there is a lot of challenging parts to this track that I do enjoy.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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5 comments on “Herta expects IndyCar to change “really dangerous” Nashville restart zone again”

  1. From the last 2 races there, It would seem that he has a very valid point.

  2. Agree – however spectacular the bridge looks, a freak contact there could have scary consequences!

    1. I find the whole circuit a bit of a mess to be honest. It doesn’t do anything for good racing. The single file turn back section 14-18 is totally mickey mouse, and the bridge absolutely terrifies me. The thought of a car getting airborne over there is proper scary.

  3. That track isn’t even suitable for Formula E. It’s what Miami might have been if you look at some of the initial layouts. Indycar is doing itself no favours with this circuit and they need a new layout. Don’t they have an oval track in Nashville ??

  4. The Tennessee Titans are expected to soon get local approval for a new stadium, to be built on the area presently used for the Indycar pitlane and paddock, with construction beginning in 2024. So hopefully next year will be the last on this circuit…

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