MADISON, Ill. — The head of competition for IndyCar said Friday that Robert Wickens’ car performed exactly as it was designed when it tore to pieces during a frightening wreck at Pocono, leaving the Canadian driver hospitalized with serious injuries to his spinal cord and extremities.

Jay Frye also acknowledged that a host of improvements could be made – to the car itself, to the fencing that shredded the car and even to the injury reporting process that some criticized as being much too slow after last Sunday’s accident.

“Any time you have something like this happen, you look at it,” Frye said during a morning downpour at Gateway Motorsports Park, where the series will race Saturday night. “What was good about it? What was bad about it? Did it do its job? What could be better? How long did it take to fix?

“We were very encouraged by how the car held up, certainly not satisfied though, because the driver was injured. We’ll never be satisfied until that doesn’t happen.”

RULES CHANGES: NASCAR is changing rules for Xfinity and Trucks races next season, saying it will strengthen competition and more clearly define each series.

In the Xfinity Series, the maximum starting field will be reduced by two cars to 38 beginning in 2019.

NASCAR says it will reallocate the purse money previously awarded to 39th- and 40th-place finishers to the rest of the field.

NASCAR Vice President John Bobo said the change will help ensure the organization’s goal of putting together the strongest field.

Another change involves how points are awarded in the owner championship race for the Xfinity and Trucks series.

Car owners will only earn points in the championship race if the driver is an Xfinity or Trucks Series regular.

Drivers are only permitted to run for one series championship.

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