HOUSTON, TX – The 2014 Houston Grand Prix held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, June 26 to let everyone know that Indy racing season has been green lit for this year. Just eight months ago, the Grand Prix was making news after Dario Franchetti’s race car was sent flying on the final lap and crashed into a retaining fence with debris flying into the crowd of spectators. Amazingly, no one in the crowd was seriously injured, but Franchetti would have to retire from racing because of the wreck.
2014 Indy 500 Winner Ryan Hunter-Reay says, “It was a bit of a freak accident. we rarely ever see anything like that happen and it’s unfortunate some of the fans got caught up in but the good news is the fencing and the track did it’s job It kept the car from going off the race track.”
In the wake of last year’s accident, changes have been made.
Austin Crossley, Managing Director of Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston, says, “We’ve made some major improvements we think including changes to the fence design to make sure that fence not only does what it did last year which was keep the car in the track, the primary responsibility, but also to stay on to the concrete barriers. We’ve changed the track surface quite a bit. We’ve fixed many of the bumps we had last year.”
The Grand Prix was pushed up from October to June this year, so hot temperatures are a concern for racers, and there could be some wet weather this weekend as well.
Professional driver Graham Rahal says, “I think with this track and the concrete surface that it has , it’s actually not too bad in the rain generally because there’s not a lot of rubber down because rubber turns into oil and becomes slippery in the rain. Hopefully the rain will keep the weather cool though.”
Pulling for safer viewing conditions and cooler weather is something race fans can agree to cheer for.