Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe said that IndyCar's decision to cut downforce levels further or this weekend's race at Texas Motor Speedway, following a meeting to discuss the matter in Detroit last weekend, should help minimize the potential for pack racing.
The Texas race is the first at a 1.5-mile oval since Dan Wheldon's fatal accident at Las Vegas last October. Reducing the opportunity for cars to run extended periods at full throttle and in tight packs was a priority for the series during the off-season, and downforce levels for Texas were reduced twice during tests.
Briscoe said the need to break up packs of cars was a pressing priority for drivers, leading to the further action last weekend.
"I came here [testing] in February with Tony Kanaan and we went away saying, 'We need to have less [downforce],'" said Briscoe. "IndyCar made changes, and we came back [and tested] as a group, but in Detroit we all put our heads together and there was a unanimous decision to reduce the downforce further for this weekend, just so that we are getting out of that mentality of coming to this circuit and being wide open.
"I've never been here and thought, 'I'm going to have to start working on the racing line, and breathe it going into the corners,' or whatever. And when you get the whole field going out and running wide open for at least 20 laps in a stint, that's when you get pack racing.
"We're on a bit of a mission as drivers to try to improve the safety of the series, and this is the first 1.5-mile oval after Vegas, and we want to make the right steps toward making it safer, and get it away from having cars running right on top of each other."
Briscoe believes that if the reduced downforce works as planned, it will result in a completely different style of racing at Texas.
"We'll have to see how the cars are in the first [practice] session, but I expect there to be a little bit of a spread between cars," he said. "It's probably going to change our philosophy of how you win a race around this track. It's going to be kind of a new event for us all. I'm excited about that, and it has good to see all the drivers work together on the safety."