IndyCar’s aeroscreen gets mixed reviews in 1st rain test

May 15, 2022, 1:36 AM | Updated: 2:10 pm
Colton Herta spins his car after winning the IndyCar GP auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in...

Colton Herta spins his car after winning the IndyCar GP auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

              Alex Palou, of Spain, drives during qualifications for the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Friday, May 13, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
              Colton Herta takes the checkered flag to win the IndyCar Grand Prix auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
              Colton Herta leads as storm clouds gather on his way to winning the IndyCar Grand Prix auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
              Colton Herta drives thought the second turn on his way to winning the IndyCar Grand Prix auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
              Colton Herta spins his car after winning the IndyCar GP auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — IndyCar officials will spend the next few days collecting information and gathering advice about improving aeroscreen visibility for races held in the rain.

Many of the series drivers complained Saturday that they struggled to see other cars late in the IndyCar Grand Prix — even though each has flashing red lights. It was the most intense rainfall the series has competed in since 2018 at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, two years prior to the installation of the shields designed to protect drivers’ heads from debris.

IndyCar president Jay Frye acknowledged Sunday previous testing indicated water retention on the screens would be more severe when running at slower speeds. But those tests were not held with 27 cars on the track as was the case on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course this weekend.

“When you got it up to speed, the water would just blow off, it would just go away. Now with a group of cars, there are different things involved,” Frye told The Associated Press. “We need to find out where we’re at, who had the biggest issue and come up with best practices.”

One possible solution — making better use of the tear-offs that cover the clear screens.

Race winner Colton Herta said he also struggled with visibility — until his team pulled a used tear-off screen. Frye said he spoke with an unidentified driver whose team never removed it.

Whether that may have made a difference Saturday remains unclear.

But it didn’t change the results.

After finishing a season-best fifth, Conor Daly of Ed Carpenter Racing told reporters he finished the race by peaking around the side of the cockpit because water was pooling in the center of the shield. He wasn’t the only competitor struggling.

The changing weather conditions and a track that was dry in some parts and wet in others, created other obstacles. And when heavy rain covered the front stretch with less than five laps to go, Daly said he relied on his spotter, instincts and muscle memory to navigate braking zones and traffic.

“It was definitely hard to race like that,” he said. “Even under yellow, I couldn’t see the cars, so that’s very concerning. Hopefully, we can figure it out. Hopefully, we can keep it shiny the rest of the year, too.”

Complaints about the aeroscreens are hardly new. When initially introduced, drivers complained about a range of issues including sightlines, cockpit temperatures and warm drinking bottles. Series officials found solutions, some with relatively simple adjustments such as moving the placement of drinking bottles.

Indy GP runner-up Simon Pagenaud offered one idea — adding a windshield wiper like sports cars.

“It was very difficult to see without the wiper. That was the first wet race with the aeroscreen, but in these conditions you really need the wiper,” the three-time race winner from France said. “It’s possible and probably necessary to have a wiper in these conditions.”

Frye said the series would consider Pagenaud’s suggestion, but the curve of the aeroscreen could present a challenge.

Regardless, the historic speedway could now be harkening back to its traditional roots as a test track where everything from seat belts to rearview mirrors to the SAFER barrier were introduced.

Rain is commonplace in May and has caused many Indianapolis 500 practices and qualifying rounds to be delayed or canceled. In 1915, 1986 and 1997, bad weather forced postponements of the marquee race. In 1967 and 1973, it took multiple days to complete and seven 500s ended prematurely because of rain, most recently in 2007 when Dario Franchitti won for the first time.

But because IndyCars don’t compete on wet ovals, the rooster tails created by the spray of the cars was a surprising sight for the estimated 65,000 fans and caused real consternation for some of the series’ most hardened drivers.

“The biggest problem for me was the spray from the other cars,” pole-winner and third-place finisher Will Power said. “There’s really nothing you can do with the wheels of the cars. We were really right on the edge of whether we should be running there at the end.”

Series officials monitored radio calls and team messages about visibility throughout the race, especially when the heavier rains began, Frye said, but that nobody thought the conditions were “unmanageable.”

The series also is trying to find out if visibility could have played a role in the late crash between between rookies Christian Lundgaard and Callum Ilott.

Either way, it wasn’t easy for anyone.

“I’m glad to say I’ve raced in the rain now although that was a frightening experience, especially there for the last however many laps,” seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said on Twitter. “I hope I don’t need to do that again anytime soon.”


More AP auto racing: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]
22 days ago
Joe Jarzynka...
Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]
22 days ago
FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...
Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]
22 days ago
Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...
Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]
22 days ago
FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...
Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]
22 days ago
FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...
Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]
22 days ago
IndyCar’s aeroscreen gets mixed reviews in 1st rain test