As has been the case in recent years, the double-header IndyCar races from Texas Motor Speedway over the weekend were a mostly single-file affair.
The series has been visiting the 1.5-mile oval since it opened in 1997, and there have been times when side-by-side racing has been commonplace from flag to flag.
The current aero package, however, makes it difficult to follow other cars closely, and passes for position are only possible with a car that has a large advantage over the one in front.
For Sunday’s 248-lap race, for instance, there were only 100 total passes, and many of those came as a result of the cycling of pit stops.
Graham Rahal was able to make his share of passes on Sunday afternoon’s race on his way to a podium finish, but each pass had to be a quick one as there was no opportunity to jockey side-by-side with the other drivers.
Having run some preseason laps at TMS with his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team this year, the 13-year-veteran was able to test out a new aero component that IndyCar was considering.
The updates were not brought to the event this year, but Rahal believes they should be considered for the future in order to improve the action.
“At the test here we ran barge boards, like what’s available at Indianapolis,” explained Rahal.
“I thought the barge boards at the test really helped us run a little bit closer, helped maintain the front tire for me. Then it was determined those aren’t allowed.
“I understand it, but I also think something like that in the future to look at as a positive.
“I do think the series has worked hard. I don’t think we should beat everybody up on this thing. People poured a lot of time into getting this race better.
“I thought it was better than last year, personally. Way more guys finished on the lead lap. There was more passing.
“I thought it was an improvement in the overall package. But the track is what it is. We’re trying to do our best to work around it.
“I thought with the aero package, a little more improvement could be done.”
IndyCar is often testing tweaks to the prescribed aero package, including new components that will be available for cars running this year’s Indianapolis 500.
The aim is always to improve the action for the fans while still rewarding skilled driving from the field of talented racers.
With the high-speed TMS oval being similar in nature to Indianapolis, it is likely more shared components can be utilized in the future to help improve the show even more.