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Panel Upholds New Hampshire IndyCar Finish

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, August 24 2011

Will Power and Danica Patrick spin on the final attempt at a restart at New Hampshire. A panel set up by the IndyCar Series ruled that Ryan Hunter-Reay will be credited with winning the race. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Gregg Ellman)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

INDYCAR announced today that the top three finishing positions of the Aug. 14 MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway would stand as ruled on race day.  As a result, Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport will go down as winner of the event.

The announcement came after a ruling Wednesday on a protest held on the finish of the race. The protest was heard during a hearing by an ad hoc commission Tuesday in Indianapolis and was denied.

The protest was made by Newman/Haas Racing, which argued that Oriol Serive should have been awarded the victory, and Target Chip Ganassi, which argued that Scott Dixon should have been credited with finishing second.

The protests were denied based on these grounds, according to a signed statement from the panel:

“After hearing the excellent presentations by each of the participants in the protest hearing and after reviewing and being sympathetic with each of their positions, the Protest Panel was unanimous in its decision. It is this Protest Panel’s conclusion that INDYCAR Senior Official Brian Barnhart had the authority under the governing 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook to render the decision that was made. We also agree that his decision to abort the restart and set the finishing positions that existed before the attempted restart to be an exercise of reasonable discretion. The protests as to Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. d/b/a Target Chip Ganassi Racing car number 9 and Newman/Haas Racing, LLC car number 2 are hereby denied.

“Per Rule 13.1 of the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook, the decision may be appealed by 5 p.m. (ET) of the second business day following the release of the decision.”

The race at New Hampshire became controversial when it was determined to restart it on a track which many drivers said was too wet to be safe.

A big wreck occurred as the field, with Hunter-Reay leading, approached the starting line to take the final green flag.

Servia was in the lead and Dixon second when the field restarted. However, INDYCAR officials said that the restart had been aborted before the green flag wave and that gave the win to Hunter-Reay.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Carl Haas, owner of Newman/Haas said:

“The IndyCar Series granted us a hearing and has been very cooperative in providing us with requested information enabling us to adequately present our case.  We feel that we gave the panel proof that Oriol was the winner of the event when the checkered flag ended the race.  Naturally we are very disappointed in the panel’s ruling that five laps of the race be struck from the results but we appreciated the opportunity to state our position.”

Oriol Servia, driver of the No. 2 Telemundo entry for Newman/Haas car said in the statement:

“I am very proud of Newman/Haas Racing and how they proved that the restart procedure was correct and that we were leading when the yellow came out.  The panel resolution doesn’t deny that.  Their resolution states that Brian Barnhart has the power by the rulebook to make certain decisions at his discretion, and that is what happened.”

In a statement issued by Andretti Autosport, team president and CEO Michael Andretti said:

“We are very pleased with the decision given by the committee on the New Hampshire race finish. Ryan drove a tremendous race in the No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car at Loudon and his crew was outstanding that day. We, at Andretti Autosport, believed all along that Ryan was the winner of the MoveThatBlock.com 225 and this decision verifies his victory. This was our team’s third win with three different drivers this year. We’re the only team to have three winners in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series. We have two big road racing events coming up in the next two weeks at Sonoma, Calif., and Baltimore, Md., and we can now focus on getting back to victory lane at those races. Thanks again for the support of our sponsors and fans.”

In the statement, Hunter-Reay said, ”I have always felt that we won the race in New Hampshire. The conditions were not ideal that day. And a proper decision needed to be made. I know that the entire Andretti Autosport team and especially the Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda crew is pleased with the outcome of the hearing. It is a very gratifying feeling to hear from all of our sponsors and fans who have supported us all year long and through the last week or so after the race. It is a relief to now concentrate on the next race at Sonoma this weekend. We have scored more points in the last four races than any other driver, and I would love to continue that pattern at Infineon Raceway. Thanks again to everyone who stood behind us.”

The hearing was conducted by a panel consisting of Jerry Gappens, Rollie Helmling and Jeff Stoops. As Senior Official and pursuant to IZOD IndyCar Series Rule 12.4, INDYCAR President of Competition and Operations Brian Barnhart elected to have a panel resolve the protests filed by Newman/Haas Racing and Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Wednesday, August 24 2011
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