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Thus far, Dixon lucky to escape penalty for comments against Race Control

Sep 4, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT

Grand Prix Of Baltimore - Day 3 Getty Images

Enough time has passed between Scott Dixon’s comments made to reporters in the heat of the moment in Baltimore and today’s road course test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to where something could have been done by INDYCAR in reaction.

To give you a quick recap of the last two weeks, Dixon was penalized for contacting pit equipment and two of Will Power’s pit crew in Sonoma. Dixon called Penske’s actions there a “(expletive) move” and said of IndyCar race control and in particular, Race Director Beaux Barfield, that its consistency level was “horrible.” Here’s the interview clip from that take.

No direct pot shots, and a fair enough take given the circumstances.

But this weekend in Baltimore, Dixon and the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team have boiled over after their latest dust-up with Power and Penske. Here’s the wreck that caused Dixon’s retirement from the race.

Dixon was once again frustrated in his NBCSN interview, but at least had the self-restraint to say he should probably quit talking before “saying anything he would regret later.”

But, come reports on Monday, Dixon said some things that in years past, could have been a finable offense.  He called for Barfield’s firing, and also referred to Penske Racing president Tim Cindric as a “piece of (expletive).”

Power and Penske would know a thing or two about speaking out against Race Control. Under previous INDYCAR Race Director Brian Barnhart, Power memorably flipped Barnhart the “double birds” at Loudon, New Hampshire in 2011 when a race was restarted on an oval as it was raining.

For that offense, Power was fined $30,000 and placed on probation for the remainder of the season. He had the opportunity to work off the fine by making a series of public appearances on INDYCAR’s behalf.

Dixon, meanwhile, has verbally gone after the Race Director in consecutive weeks and received no formal penalty from INDYCAR as a result.

Dixon’s frustration is warranted, because he feels “hard done” or done in by events outside his control that have put a serious dent in his championship chances. He’s also having to deal with a personal loss, as his wife Emma’s sister has passed away just in the last couple weeks.

But that shouldn’t excuse him from penalty for calling for the ouster of the Race Director, even if in his view it’s warranted.

A fine should be imposed to Dixon just for the precedent not fining him would set. As it stands now, a fine has been issued for outbursts against the former Race Director, but public outbursts against the current one have not. And that gives others free rein with which to speak out.

Occasional officiating mistakes are part of the game in any sport, and the person in the position itself is not infallible. But Dixon and the team are teetering on the verge of sour grapes with their vendetta against Barfield, and right now are getting away with it without penalty.

It’s unfortunate to witness because Dixon’s one of the best, and usually classiest, drivers in the paddock. To see him come as undone as he has the last two weeks has been difficult to watch.

  1. convincedofthehex - Sep 4, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    First Dario being a whiner, now Dixon. The Ganassi complaining is getting old. Do these guys understand how much it turns off the public to listen to this nonsense? It’s the same thing with Rahal, Marco and RHR. For the good of the series they need to shut up. We get it, you didn’t like the call. At this point he’s lucky David Stern isn’t in charge, or he’d be looking at a 6 figure fine. IndyCar is the best racing going right now, these guys need to look at the big picture.

    • tgin52 - Sep 4, 2013 at 6:03 PM

      I totally agree. The Ganassi complaints are getting quite old. And as Indycar is trying to draw in more fans, all this sour grapes crap does nothing to help. I don’t know how he can complain since he won those races after getting a new Honda engine, hmmmm that seemed awful strange to us. And Dario just needs to shut up and try and get back to driving

  2. snoopyo - Sep 5, 2013 at 1:14 AM

    The Ganassi boys are not happy because Beaux doesn’t give them there way like Brian Barnhart use to.Dixon has gotten the shaft but Dario needs to shut up he has gotten away with more dirty driving in the last few years then everyone in the field combined.They should fine Dario for all his crying he has done,when Barnhart was in race control Dario drove whatever way he wanted and would get away with it.I wish the penalty at Toronto would have stuck but it didn’t and guess who was in race control that weekend there old pal Barnhart. I like Dixon like his approach and how he is all business and Dario is a good driver but he is such a baby anymore. One thing I can say is the Penske vs Ganassi rivalry is good reminds me of the Penske vs Pat Patrick rivalry back in the day.

  3. Jeff - Sep 5, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    Will Power whines way more than any other IndyCar I’ve heard.

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