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Report: IndyCar to implement pit box lines starting at Baltimore

Aug 27, 2013, 6:00 PM EDT

Following the controversial penalty on Scott Dixon this past weekend at Sonoma Raceway, INDYCAR president of competition Derrick Walker has told The Indianapolis Star that the series will have pit box lines marked out at future races starting with this weekend’s Grand Prix of Baltimore (Sun., 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Confusion set in after Dixon was handed a drive-through penalty from Race Control for hitting a tire that was being held by a crewman for Team Penske driver Will Power. The impact sent the crewman into another one, and an air gun that was sent flying in the incident hit a third person.

In explaining his decision to penalize Dixon, IndyCar race director Beaux Barfield told NBCSN on Sunday that Dixon had crossed into Power’s pit space. However, the lines that were already painted didn’t mark out the teams’ actual spaces.

“The lines are a little bit confusing, because we don’t go in and change the lines everywhere we go,” Barfield said at the time. “There’s a different angle, if you looked at, you can see the difference between the Target [Dixon] and the Verizon [Power] signs on the wall.

“With the 9 car [Dixon] leaving the pit lane, he clearly crosses right into the pit box into the 12 car [Power] space, and that’s where the violation occurred. From that [angle] right there – as much as it looks like if you’re looking at the white line, he’s not in the box yet – he’s actually been in that box for the 12 car in front of him for a solid half-car length.”

Upon seeing a replay of the incident after the race, Dixon immediately called out the Penske crewman holding the tire, saying that he walked toward his car on purpose.

However, Walker told The Star’s Curt Cavin that he believes the crewman wasn’t doing anything devious.

“He carried that wheel the same way he always does, and here’s the key thing: He was in his [pit] box,” said Walker, who also mentioned that he would issue “courtesy expectations” regarding proper pit road etiquette.

“If he’s in his pit box, that guy can carry that tire on his head for all I care. For us, it’s about consistency, and there’s nothing more consistent than our rule that if you hit equipment on pit road, yours or theirs, you get a drive-through penalty. There was nothing inconsistent about that.”

Thanks to the penalty, Dixon was knocked from the lead all the way to 21st before eventually finishing 15th. Power went on to win the race.

  1. midtec2005 - Aug 27, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    I’m glad Derrick Walker spoke up, he’s right. A rule is a rule and they had to make the call. I’m not convinced the Penske guy was acting normally though.

    • xkr1 - Aug 28, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      OK lets look at the stupid or ignorant statements made by the tv announcers. Any statement of the human being at fault in a human car collision while in the pit process is without merit due to 1 – the human being in the vision of the car driver 2 – the human has right of way – ALWAYS 3 – what psychopathic mind could concoct a scenario where a human would risk never walking properly again to gain .3 of a second?
      I was at Texas Motor speedway when a driver came into our box at 55 mph missing me by less than 6 inches, during practice – I complained to the IRL official and he shrugged his shoulders with on further action taken. I then went to the drivers pit and talked to the crew chief he laughed.some time later the driver came into the pit and crashed into his own crew badly injuring many of the crew. Why didn’t the IRL call me or check back with the team? When someone who matters gets hit the leadership in the Indycar will fix the problem. This is not a systemic problem but it is an event that occurs too often. Sonoma has 19 more pits than the Indycar field. why were any teams not separated by an entire nascar length pit? It is much more likely that the driver was intimidating the tire changer rather than the human intimidating the car. I am glad that the humans had helmets on! rule change- hit equipment get a drive through hit a human park the car – pending review up to disbarment from the series and no driving until the pit crew member(s) return to the job they were preforming when injured. (the driver who almost hit me never raced in the IRL again due in part to the dwi he got the night before.)

  2. bikesgonewild - Aug 27, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    …derrick walker has always been a savvy race guy & whilst rules are rules, the immediate implimentation of “pit box lines” clearly implies much was left to question, which to my way of thinking, includes the tire carrier’s actions & therefore if dixie suffers a (huge) penalty as race leader, then the captain’s team should receive a monetary fine…
    …whilst i prefer dixie over powers, personality-wise, i’m cheering for penske’s driver helio castroneves, who slightly benefitted from the penalty but in this case, i think the captain’s tire carrier showed behavior detrimental to the safety of all concerned…

  3. zzyzxx8 - Aug 27, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    According to the officials, Dixon was at fault because he was in Powers pit when he made contact. Power then leaves and drives straight ahead through several pit boxes because there was nothing there to hit. When Dixon starts to move, Powers tire is still on the ground and he drives a path that would have gone around it. The contact only occurs because the tire is moved after Dixon is in motion. If a team in the pits ahead of Powers ran into their pit box to get ready, without looking out for his car, would it be Powers fault? He drove straight, because the path was clear. Dixon also pick out a clear path, but his was suddenly changed by a team member who seamed to not pay any attention to Dixon’s car.

  4. indycarseries500 - Aug 27, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    What does this do? you still have to drive through the pit box in front of you to get out, even in Formula 1 where there’s 50ft between pit boxes you see the team in front pull back their air hose. A better rule would be to mandate the RR tire changer to carry the tire in front of him to lessen his profile.

  5. ravenousmind - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:02 AM

    1. Good call on going by the rule book!
    2. Tire carrier was moving unusually slow in my opinion.
    4. Make official pit Lane size bigger, ban 3 car wide exits.

  6. stefet - Aug 28, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    I’d feel the same way if I was Dixon. The pit guy clearly saw Dixon and made no intention to get out of the way. He actually walked towards dixons car slightly…. Regardless of the lines which evidently don’t mean anything as far as Indy pit sizes go

  7. dirtrack - Aug 28, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Mr Walker left out one important caveat: He should have stated the pit crew members, AND their equipment and tires must stay within the box. Otherwise, we’ll just have a repeat with the crewman in the box, but carrying the tire outside on his hip.

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