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Power wins, Dixon penalized at GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

Aug 25, 2013, 7:23 PM EDT

Will Power AP

Will Power broke his winless drought dating to Brazil in May of 2012 with his first win of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season in Sunday’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.

However, the win was overshadowed in controversy after the last round of pit stops. Scott Dixon, who was pitted behind Power in the Target Chip Ganassi Racing No. 9 stall, hit a tire that was being carried by one of Power’s crewmembers, and went into a second crewmember, on exit.

Dixon alleged that Power’s crew had moved into Dixon’s pit space and in fact jumped in front of the New Zealander on exit. Following a restart, Dixon was assessed a drive-through penalty for what was deemed a pit lane violation and fell to the back of the field. He ultimately finished 15th.

Dixon, Power and IndyCar race director Beaux Barfield all spoke to NBCSN in the immediate aftermath to express their side of the story.

From Dixon to NBCSN’s Kevin Lee: “He’s walked towards us on purpose, and that’s probably the most blatant thing I’ve seen in a long time. That was a bit of a (expletive) move to be honest. I’m pretty annoyed with that. I look forward to seeing what race control’s decision is all about. Race control’s consistency is horrible.”

Dixon and Barfield have hardly been friends in Barfield’s tenure that began ahead of 2012. Barfield admitted a blown call at the Milwaukee Mile race in 2012 regarding one of Dixon’s restarts.

Race winner Power to NBCSN’s Marty Snider in victory lane: “It’s hard to say but Dixon took a big hit there. I feel bad for him. But things like that have happened to us a lot the last two years.” Asked whether he felt it was intentional, in response to Dixon’s accusation, Power said, “I mean I’d be very surprised. I haven’t seen it yet, so it isn’t worth commenting on.”

Lastly, Barfield to NBCSN’s Jon Beekhuis: “Ultimately we have a duty to protect everyone in the pit lane. If someone uses less judgment when they leave the pit box, we have to make a statement by penalizing. There’s a couple of different angles, and the lines are a bit confusing.  The 9 car crossed right into the 12 car’s space, and that’s where the violation occurred. I feel good with the statement we made; we want to keep this pit lane as safe as we can.”

Beyond the contretemps, the rest of the top five was Justin Wilson in second, Dario Franchitti third, Marco Andretti fourth and Simon Pagenaud fifth. Ryan Hunter-Reay finished sixth ahead of points leader Helio Castroneves, with James Hinchcliffe, Simona de Silvestro and Sebastien Bourdais in the top 10.

It was a caution-filled race with a record seven interrupting the 85-lap race. Unofficially, Castroneves leads Dixon by 39 points with four races remaining.

IZOD IndyCar Series
GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
SONOMA, Calif. – Results Sunday of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 2.385 mile Sonoma Raceway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (3) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
2. (7) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
3. (1) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
4. (11) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
5. (10) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
6. (4) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
7. (5) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
8. (9) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
9. (22) Simona De Silvestro, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
10. (12) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
11. (8) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
12. (14) Tristan Vautier, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
13. (16) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
14. (15) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
15. (2) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
16. (18) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
17. (21) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 85, Running
18. (25) James Davison, Dallara-Honda, 85, Running
19. (23) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 84, Running
20. (6) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 83, Runnin
21. (20) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Chevy, 81, Contact
22. (24) Lucas Luhr, Dallara-Honda, 81, Mechanical
23. (13) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 67, Mechanical
24. (17) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 56, Mechanical
25. (19) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 28, Mechanical

Race Statistics
Winners average speed: 86.401
Time of Race: 02:20:46.8226
Margin of victory: 1.1930
Cautions: 7/21 laps
Lead changes: 7

Lap Leaders:
Franchitti 1 – 17
Hunter-Reay 18 – 23
Wilson 24 – 33
Dixon 34 – 45
Kanaan 46 – 50
Hinchcliffe 51 – 54
Dixon 55 – 69
Power 70 – 85

Point Standings: Castroneves 479, Dixon 440, Hunter-Reay 417, Andretti 409, Pagenaud 380, Franchitti 379, Wilson 361, Power 356, Hinchcliffe 350, Kimball 335

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  1. indycarseries500 - Aug 25, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    Well…the #9 crew will be in front of the 12 next week. Good luck leaving the pits in Baltimore Will.

    • midtec2005 - Aug 26, 2013 at 1:02 PM

      Absolutely right. I don’t get the outrage at race control, they just enforced the rules. You can’t hit things on pit road. It wasn’t really Dixons fault though, it was Penskes fault. They definitely broke etiquette. However I bet they will get their payback on Castroneves and not Power….

  2. wallio - Aug 25, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    Horrificly biased commentary on NBCSN’s part. To say Power’s crew guy intentionally got hit is seriously the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. He was hugging the wing of the 12 and Power mowed him down. As Barfeld said, the pit box lines didn’t match up here, and the overhead view showed Dixon was waaaayyyyy into Powers box. But as usual, NBCSN, the Ganassi Network, shows its ignorance as well as its bias.

    • k0d3g3ar - Aug 25, 2013 at 8:28 PM

      I noticed that too. No one in commentary seemed to give a #$*@ about the poor pit crew member being flung through the air into another due to Dixon’s need to win at all costs.

      • myrana77 - Aug 25, 2013 at 9:13 PM

        They didn’t even care AFTER Barfield commented on why he called it the way he did and after looking at the overhead view. That view shows how clearly Scott Dixon was in the wrong and I am happy with the call. I guess the Ganassi crew doesn’t care for safety with the way they tried to fight it as it happened and after the race was over. Poor Sportsmanship on Dixon’s part.

    • aljsmith - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:01 AM

      It is impossible for Scott to leave his pit without going through Will Powers pit!! FULL STOP! To use this argument is an easy way to be blind sided by the truth. Why not get someone to look at Will Powers other pit stops during the race and see if his rear wheel pit guy acted the sasme way, then you will know if Will Powers pit crew did it on purpose. Watch were Dixons pit crew puts the same tire. If Indy was so concerned about the pit crews saftey they would make them all do what Dixons crew did!!

  3. mjsvette1980 - Aug 25, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    I agree completely. Dixon clearly crossed into Power’s pit box and that was the main infraction. Even if Dixon had not hit the crewmember, he was still absolutely in violation of the rules. I think NBC’s announcers need glasses and need to apologize to Penske, Power and the Penske Crewmember.
    Dixon is clearly infatuated with himself and if he couldn’t see that he crossed into Power’s pit box then maybe he should quit racing. I detest Dixon because he never does anything wrong, has never made a mistake and everyone else is always at fault. I am really glad to see that he will lose the championship. He is a very poor sportsman.

    • myrana77 - Aug 25, 2013 at 9:08 PM

      one can hope he loses the championship. I personally am rooting on Helio since he has always been my favorite driver.

    • mckinleyrosedesign - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:15 AM

      I would invite Wally ( Who I used to respect) & Townsend to intentionally hold a rear wheel & tire out to be hit by a spinning rear wheel of an Indy Car… They also said alot of what they think of ” lowly” crew men. They accept week in, week out if a driver makes a mistake as this crew member might have made, but he gets no benefeit of the doubt, or no chance to talk for himself & they were ready to string him up. I think the penalties need to carry on, fire Wally & Townsend, if this represents their intelligence, it’ no wonder their racing careers were such non events.

      • grace1006 - Aug 26, 2013 at 10:31 AM

        I agree with you to a point. I wouldn’t go as far as to fire Wally and Townsend. If they do they need to get rid of Marty Snider too. It is so obvious the are just trying to generate hype to get more people to watch.

        IF the crew men were trying to make the box bigger so what? Scott has a steering wheel crank it some more so you don’t hit anything. Here’s another idea…think that maybe Will might stop in the back of his pit box so pit in the back of yours. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure this stuff out.

    • aljsmith - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:09 AM

      Lance Perry, As a former IndyCar tire changer I can assure all of you that 100% penske’s guy did that on purpose. His pace and positioning of the tire were intentional. Not illegal but in very very poor taste. Very dishonorable.
      It was impossible for Dixon to leave his pit without entering Powers!

    • zzyzxx8 - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:29 AM

      If driving through another pit box was enough for a penalty, then how do you explain Power driving straight ahead through the three empty pit boxes ahead of him on this stop. When Dixon started to move, Power’s RR tire was still on the ground. Dixon’s path would have taken him around that tire. He only made contact because it was moved into his path just after he started to move. He is allowed to cross through the back of Power’s pit if it is clear, and it was clear when he lit up his tires, just as Power can drive straight through the empty pits that were ahead of him.

  4. k0d3g3ar - Aug 25, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    This is one area where the race stewards made the right call. Pit lane safety has to be job #1 and things could have ended way worse than it did. Thankfully no one was serious injured, but it was obvious that Dixon crossed the line into Penske’s pit box. I think this was just a case of Dixon & Co getting a little too excited and forgetting safety. I can understand his position, but give him a few days and he’ll probably realize just how close he came to seriously injuring another person. Those cars are lethal weapons and there is no protection for the pit crew member compared with the coocoon that Dixon has around him in case of collision. I’m sure Will Power would have preferred to win this without the incident, but clearly he has done that a couple of times before at that track, so its clear he has the skills to do it anyway.

    • wallio - Aug 25, 2013 at 8:47 PM

      ^This. I’ve been in loads of pit lanes in all sorts of racing in my life, and I have NEVER seen anyone ever jump infront of a moving race car. To insinuate that was the case just shows how whiney Dixon is. Get overself Scott, you screwed up.

      • mckinleyrosedesign - Aug 26, 2013 at 12:16 AM

        You could not be more correct!

    • snoopyo - Aug 25, 2013 at 10:13 PM

      Chip and his drivers are not happy with Barfield because when Brian Barnfart was officiating they always got there way and Barfield isn’t letting them get there way like they use to with race control. Dario has gotten away with so much over the years especially when Brian Barnfart was calling the shots.

  5. Tony DiZinno - Aug 25, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    For those who have commented about the question to Power in victory lane, the question was asked following Dixon’s allegation that Power’s crewmembers were intentionally moving into the way of his release. Dixon was the first interview, with Power the second and Barfield the third in the series of interviews post-race on today’s NBCSN broadcast.

    • grace1006 - Aug 26, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      It’s supposed to be a victory lane interview. Leave that crap about what Scott said until the end. Will certainly handled it better than I would have.

      I hate is when IndyCar is on ESPN. After today I’m no so thrilled with NBCSN either.

      • midtec2005 - Aug 28, 2013 at 10:17 AM

        I missed this point previously, I totally agree with grace1006. That question immediately out of the car was purely UNPROFESSIONAL. I probably would have chewed out the reporter… which is why I’m an engineer, lol.

  6. mcc325 - Aug 25, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    I won’t say that the crew guy caused contact on purpose, but he certainly didn’t exert a ton of effort to get himself and the tire out of the way. I’m not saying he was wrong, but I think it’s pretty obvious that he’s trying to make it as difficult as possible for Dixon to leave the box. Now whether that’s right or wrong, sportsmanlike or unsportsmanlike, I dont know, but if you watch the tape, it sure seems like he’s making himself as wide as possible. Other crews, other situations, that right rear guy hustles out of the way- clearly not hustling in this case. For the sake of an exciting championship it’s too bad though

    • myrana77 - Aug 25, 2013 at 9:10 PM

      clearly the guy is not trying to run out of the way because he is CLEARLY inside his pit box for Penske. Open up your eyes and see that Mr. Dixon was CLEARLY in powers box when you look at the overhead view. It was a fair call, but apparently you Dixon fans think it is clearly okay to run over a crew member for a win.

    • wallio - Aug 25, 2013 at 9:13 PM

      Mcc, where did you want him to go? Dixon basically ran him into Powers car.

  7. snoopyo - Aug 25, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    WOW this has to be a sweet win for Power beating a team he hates the most. HEY DARIO SHUT UP AND QUIT COMPLAINING how many times have you driven dirty especially on Power and have gotten away with it cry me a freaking river. As for the Dixon Power incident to say a crew member intentionally did it is dumb why would a crew member risk his life like that it is already dangerous enough in the pits crew members have died in the pits before (1973 INDY 500) that is just as dumb as someone saying a guy wrecked on purpose. I am surprised that Ganassi’s team actually didn’t get what they want as far as officiating because the pretty much always have except for Dixon at Milwaukee last year.

    • aljsmith - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:10 AM

      Lance Perry, As a former IndyCar tire changer I can assure all of you that 100% penske’s guy did that on purpose. His pace and positioning of the tire were intentional. Not illegal but in very very poor taste. Very dishonorable.

  8. snoopyo - Aug 25, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Lots of action and fireworks today. We had more cautions today then we had at Mid-Ohio, Barber and INDY combined.Congrats to Power but what a great run by Justin Wilson the dude is just awesome he has won races for Dale freaking Coyne of all teams and if he was in a Penske, Ganassi or Andretti car he would win the championship. Good results for Marco and Simon as well ,Helio just continues to be consistent and keeps finishing races trying to get his first championship. Great result for Simona as well after the incident with SeaBass to come back and finish 9th. Lots of contact and drive through penalties today.

  9. kitnamania13 - Aug 25, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    When the incident first occurred, I thought the Penske crewman was trying to make it as difficult as possible for Dixon to leave the pits. I thought the call was horrible and set a bad precedent by incentivizing crewman to take reckless personal risks in the pits. However, each time I saw the replay, I became more and more convinced that my initial reaction was wrong, the TV crew was wrong, and Dixon was wrong.

    I don’t think Dixon was being a jerk after the race, though. I think he felt robbed because he didn’t know he entered Power’s pit box. I think Dixon thought the NASCAR line separated the pits, and that he stayed in his box the whole time.

    • myrana77 - Aug 25, 2013 at 10:39 PM

      I can see why one would believe that to be true; for me, I think that he could have known and just was upset that he couldn’t get away with it. They have raced in Sonoma a lot and I feel the lines always look that way. I would like to see a view on Dixion and where his car was in relation to his box. I think he was a bit too far forward which is how he came to even entering Will’s pit box.

  10. indycarseries500 - Aug 25, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    It’s irrelevant that Dixon was in Power’s pit box, any formula car especially ones with longer wheelbases such as Formula 1 or IndyCar won’t turn that tight at a slow speed making it impossible to leave without getting into the pit box in front of you. The Penske crew member was being a jerk putting the tire in Dixon’s path trying to draw a penalty, that’s what he did not expecting the tire to get knocked back into him. I bet if you go to tape he never pulls that move if it’s a non-Ganassi/Andretti Autosport team behind them. Even in Tim Cindric’s interview he had a tone that said it was wrong, Penske shouldn’t be putting his finger in Marco Andretti’s chest he should be getting in the 12 team’s RR tire changer’s face about putting his teammates in a dangerous position.

    • aljsmith - Aug 26, 2013 at 4:14 AM

      Could not agree more, would love to see how the pit guy acted in the other Will Power pit stops, if he carries the wheel on his hip before Power has gone!

      • zzyzxx8 - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:36 AM

        I’ve found a couple videos where he holds the tire the same way, but in both he picks up the tire as Power starts to move and walks straight back to the wall, because the car is gone. He didn’t run around the back of the car before it had left in either one.

  11. mcc325 - Aug 26, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    Thanks a-smith, That’s what I’m saying! I’m not a huge Dixon or power fan, but compared to any other pit stop- this guy was taking up space. 1) walking, not moving quick 2) tire on the hip instead of in front or on hip but turned down… Now, Dixon was crossing into the box a bit, but you cannot say that the tire guy wasn’t trying to make it a little difficult. I agree they have to give a penalty though, but lets not act like this guy was sprinting out of the way and Dixon mowed him down.

    • myrana77 - Aug 26, 2013 at 9:26 AM

      okay, but then let’s also not act like the guy wanted to get hit just so his driver could have better chances at winning.

  12. myrana77 - Aug 26, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    In my personal opinion, after viewing the incident, I have to agree that it was a good call. I think Dixon’s crew got sloppy and had him set up to far forward based on how much space he is taking compared to Will Power. I still feel it is no excuse for Dixon to even get that close to Will’s pit box while he is still there and could have caused a greater accident had power tried to leave the pits around the same time. I feel it is sick that we even have a notion that the crew member wanted to cause an incident just so his driver could win. Those crew guys risk their life just as much as the drivers and this minor accident could have been worse. Dixon used poor judgement in his quest for yet another indycar championship.

  13. grace1006 - Aug 26, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    I have the perfect solution to what happened yesterday. You think Will’s team was wrong? Terrific. Give them a drive through penalty. Scott gets his penalty too. There. Everybody is happy now. You’re welcome.

  14. ajfoster88 - Aug 26, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    There are videos on YouTube showing an earlier stop in the race in which the RR changer carried the tire the exact same way, and Dixon avoided him no problem. And looking at other past videos, the RR changer for WP always carries the tire this way. So anyone who has ever pit behind WP (at least for this season) has been able to avoid the tire, but now that Scotty D hit him, it’s clearly Team Penske’s fault. Yep, that’s sound logic right there, especially considering the RR changer was still in the confines of WP’s pit. Don’t look at the painted lines. Look at where the banners end. This is as black and white as it gets. You hit anything in any pit box, you get a penalty. We clamored for a black and white rulebook when Barnhart was in charge. Now we have one, and now more gray is wanted. IndyCar fans just cannot be pleased.

    • kitnamania13 - Aug 26, 2013 at 11:04 PM

      During the first round of stops, Power got out ahead of Dixon, while during the final round, Dixon got out first. Usually, when the car behind has clear space ahead, he “straightens” his pit exit. However, the opposite was true yesterday. Dixon took more of an angle leaving his pit on the first stop, when Power had left, than he did on the final stop, when Power was still there.

    • zzyzxx8 - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:46 AM

      I’ve found a couple videos where he holds the tire the same way, but in both he picks up the tire as Power starts to move and walks straight back to the wall, because the car is gone. He didn’t run around the back of the car before it had left in either one. When Dixon started to move, the tire was still on the ground. His path would have gone around the tire as it was. If the RR tire wasn’t picked up until Power was about to leave (As it was in the previous stops), Dixon wouldn’t have hit anything or anyone.

  15. drylake - Aug 27, 2013 at 12:40 AM

    If the tire changer was deliberately trying to make it difficult for Dixie to get out, then the baseball analogy applies. This adds up to a brush back pitch that hit the batter. But bases were loaded and the winning run walked in.

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