IndyCar adds chicane within chicane at Portland’s Turn 1

IndyCar is attempting to avoid controversy at Portland International Raceway by installing temporary barriers within the first chicane.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda lead at the start

Ever since PIR appeared on the CART Indy car schedule in 1984, the triangular shaped chicane at the end of the pit straight has become a traditional hotspot for incidents and accidents, particularly on Lap 1 when the cars arrive with tires and brakes not quite yet up to temperature. The chicane comprises Turn 1’s swift right-hander, Turn 2’s tight left-hander, and Turn 3’s right-hander with the drivers full on the throttle.

In previous years, some drivers who see heavy congestion and potential or actual shunts into T1 or T2, have traditionally elected to run straight on, cutting out the first and second apex and rejoining the racing surface at the exit of Turn 3 after negotiating a temporary chicane toward the end of the run-off. This has naturally caused headaches within Race Control as they attempt to re-order the field and calculate who has gained by doing this and by how much.

So this year, IndyCar has added a chicane of barriers toward the front of the ‘triangle’. IndyCar officials explain that “the idea is to slow down the cars enough, so that when they return to the track they have not gained or maintained their position. If drivers do not follow the two run-off chicane procedure, they may be subject to penalty.

“IndyCar will evaluate how this looks and feels on Friday and Saturday and tomorrow and send a memo to confirm the procedure for Sunday's race.”

The shape and tightness of these two chicanes has been designed to cost two more seconds than following the course of the track through Turns 1/2/3, and has already been tried – deliberately – by Andretti Herta Autosport’s Colton Herta and Kyle Kirkwood of AJ Foyt Racing.

During the one-hour-plus delay during first practice, caused by one of PIR's giant TV monitors falling from one of its posts, IndyCar made further adjustments to this extra chicane to slightly open up entry and exit.

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