Aug 26, 2013, 2:23 PM EDT
As the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma unfolded Sunday, I felt for head of IndyCar PR Amy Konrath, who was seemingly announcing penalties in the media center as frequently as a lottery host reveals the night’s winning POWER Ball numbers.
Five drivers were issued drive-through penalties for avoidable contact – E.J. Viso, Sebastien Bourdais, Tony Kanaan, Sebastian Saavedra and Ryan Briscoe – and Viso and of course, Scott Dixon, were issued drive-throughs for pit safety infractions.
Coupled with seven caution flags, which ties the season high in IndyCar (seven at Brazil), it made for a busy day in Race Control. The race itself lasted more than 2 hours and 20 minutes, a full 40-plus minutes longer than the most recent race at Mid-Ohio three weeks ago, which ran its 90 caution-free laps in just an hour and 40 minutes.
Reactions were strong and largely against IndyCar race director Beaux Barfield’s call to penalize Dixon when he hit the right rear tire, and subsequently Will Power’s pit crewmembers on his last scheduled stop.
I’m not going to take sides here, but I will offer this bit of insight having sat in on a Barfield-directed race control environment before (the American Le Mans Series race in September 2011, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca). It is far easier to make a rash judgment on social media than it is to make a call based on available video evidence, from multiple angles, in a split-second decision. And Barfield is not alone within IndyCar Race Control; the room has several stewards and IndyCar President of Competition and Operations, Derrick Walker, is also there.
Where the violation occurred in this instance was in accordance with Rule 184.108.40.206 (Contact with personnel; under the pit procedures heading) and from that standpoint, Dixon did violate the rule as it is written in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series Rulebook.
Dixon and Target Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull were understandably frustrated in the aftermath, but the two are classy enough individuals to where you wouldn’t think either one would accuse another crew of intentionally getting in the way to try to force a penalty.
It seems a daft idea that a crewmember would willingly throw him or herself in the way and risk their own injury. You need to have acute situational awareness when you are over the pit wall in pit lane. If such a situation could be proven, then a penalty should follow, in this writer’s opinion.
Aug 23, 2014, 3:50 PM EDT
Millen becomes the fifth different winner of the GRC season in his Hyundai Veloster, beating out Ken Block and Bucky Lasek for the victory at Daytona International Speedway.
Aug 23, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT
All of the latest news, reports and analysis from the Belgian Grand Prix paddock at Spa-Francorchamps.
Aug 23, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT
Click here to watch live coverage of the final round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on NBC Sports Live Extra today at 3 p.m. ET.
Aug 23, 2014, 2:03 PM EDT
RHR leads the way with a 1 minute, 17.7150 lap around the Sonoma Raceway road course in first practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.
Aug 23, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
CLICK HERE for stream links to Round 6 of the 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross championship from Daytona International Speedway.
Aug 23, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT
F1 supremo confirms that he has no problems with taking F1 to Russia in October.
Aug 23, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT
The 450 Class championship battle between Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen has come down to the final race of the season. Who will leave Utah with a title in hand?
Aug 23, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Fourth place a welcome surprise for Fernando Alonso and Ferrari.
WATCH LIVE: Utah National qualifying and pre-show at 1 p.m. ET; Tomac, Martin currently top the charts
Aug 23, 2014, 12:40 PM EDT
The final round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship has arrived. Watch the second qualifying session at 1 p.m. ET and the pre-show at 2:15 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra.
Aug 23, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT
For the second year in a row, Bianchi managed to upset some of the bigger names during qualifying at Spa.
Aug 23, 2014, 11:45 AM EDT
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series had raced at the track “Too Tough To Tame” on Labor Day weekend from 1950-2003.
Aug 23, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT
P18 on the grid goes down as the Hulk’s second-worst qualifying result in F1.
Aug 23, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
Defending world champion qualifies a distant third behind the two Mercedes cars on Saturday at Spa.
Aug 23, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT
2008 world champion secures his first top five qualifying result since the Canadian Grand Prix back in June.
Aug 23, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
Mercedes locks out the front row of the grid for the first time since the Canadian Grand Prix back in June, with Rosberg claiming pole at one of the sport’s most famous circuits.
Aug 23, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
Lewis wants to beat Rosberg when the German is at the peak of his powers, as the two drivers fight for this year’s F1 world title.
Aug 23, 2014, 9:05 AM EDT
German driver takes pole at a damp Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday afternoon.
Aug 23, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT
The Ferrari driver took the plunge after being nominated by Felipe Massa and soccer player Juan Manuel Mata.
Aug 23, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT
You can watch qualifying from Spa-Francorchamps live on CNBC and Live Extra from 8am ET.
Video from NASCAR America
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