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INDYCAR: ‘Glitch’ At Fault In Dixon Penalty

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, June 20 2012

The super-wide Milwaukee Mile was the site of last weekend's IndyCar race. This week, the series heads west to the Iowa oval. (INDYCAR/LAT USA)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

INDYCAR’s top cop has acknowledged that the sanctioning body erred when it issued a drive-through penalty to Scott Dixon during the Milwaukee IndyFest presented by XYQ at The Milwaukee Mile.

Dixon, of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, finished 11th in Saturday’s IZOD IndyCar Series event won by Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport at the historic facility in West Allis, Wis.

Beaux Barfield, who as INDYCAR’s president of competition/race director oversees on-track decisions, admitted the error post-race.

Dixon qualified 11th but started the No. 9 Target Dallara/Honda 21st as the result of a 10-spot grid penalty for an unapproved engine change prior to the event weekend. Dixon began moving through the field and pitted during a caution on Lap 67. Running third and going back to green after a caution on Lap 108, Dixon was assessed a drive-through penalty for passing a car before the flag waved on what turned out to be an aborted restart.

After serving the penalty, Dixon rejoined the field in 17th. He made a routine pit stop on Lap 166 and pitted for fresh tires under caution on Lap 182 to restart 12th with 34 laps to go en route to his 11th-place finish in the 225-lapper.

“I really don’t know what happened on the restart where we got penalized,” Dixon said post-race. “I think the one they waved-off was the one we got out of line when E.J. Viso was trying to restart at only 20 mph. I was in first gear and when it went green, I went. I don’t know what the issue was but I’m really looking forward to the explanation from INDYCAR. It’s a shame for the Target team and that punishment is pretty harsh.”

Barfield, who joined INDYCAR in January 2012, acknowledged the mistake in the review process for the

IndyCar officials said this week that yes, it screwed up when it penalized Scott Dixon, seen here behind James Hinchcliffe at Milwaukee. (INDYCAR/LAT USA)

penalty and took full responsibility for it being the wrong call. However, Dixon’s 11th-place result stuck.

“Due to a glitch in technology, there was a discrepancy between the official race clock and the clock on the replay machine,” Barfield told TCGR personnel in a statement. “Therefore, the review of the jumped start was one lap off, leading Race Control to make the call on the wrong lap. We have informed the Ganassi team of this error and Race Control is taking every step necessary to address it going forward.”

Barfield added the Race Control team was scheduled to “review the issue and explore remedies in advance of the race at Iowa.” Teams will contest the Iowa Corn Indy 250 Saturday night at Iowa Speedway in Newton. The race will be televised by NBC Sports Network at 9 p.m. (EDT) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network on SiriusXM (XM Channel 94 and Sirius 212). In addition, IndyCar live timing and scoring with the radio broadcast can be accessed at www.indy.car.com.

Dixon, a two-time series champion, dropped to third in the driver standings with 239 points, 35 behind leader Will Power of Team Penske. James Hinchcliffe of Andretti Autosport is 31 points back in second (243) after claiming his second podium finish of the season at Milwaukee.

Pursuant to input from IndyCar Series drivers and team engineers, INDYCAR has directed a maximum rear flap angle of 37 degrees with no wicker allowed for Saturday night’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway.

The technical bulletin sent to teams on Monday follows two days of testing by 21 cars total at the 0.875-mile oval last week. The rule will reduce downforce available by about eight to nine percent.

“Like Texas, we want to make sure the challenge is in the drivers’ hands and make them work each lap,”

Iowa Speedway is next stop on IndyCar schedule.

said Will Phillips, vice president of technology, INDYCAR. “It will be more of a challenge for drivers once their (Firestone) tires start to go off (during the 250-lap race).”

INDYCAR officials tweaked downforce levels up until the final practice for the Firestone 550k at the high-banked, 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on June 9. The event was won by Justin Wilson of Dale Coyne Racing.

Aside from the latest alteration, the short oval aerodynamic package utilized at The Milwaukee Mile last weekend again will be employed – featuring mandatory speedway front brake backing plates, prohibit rear wheel infils and sidepod top deck and optional two-thirds radiator inlet shutters.

In a departure from single-car qualifications, three heat races will be run Friday to set the starting grid for Saturday’s 250-lap race. To that end, INDYCAR has amended the procedure to determine qualification groups for the three heat races.

Qualification groups will be determined by lap times recorded by entries on the oval in the second (45-minute) practice session (3:30 p.m. EDT). Qualifications are scheduled for 7:15 p.m. (EDT).

Race 1 will consist of the even-numbered positions, starting with the 10th-quickest practice time, and determine the even-numbered positions in the starting field from 10th down.

Race 2 will consist of the odd-numbered positions, starting with the ninth-quickest practice time, and determine the odd-numbered positions in the starting field from ninth down.

Race 3 will consist of drivers ranked one through eight from the practice. Results of Race 3 will determine the first four rows, with the winner taking the pole position.

Marco Andretti of Andretti Autosport held off Tony Kanaan of KV Racing Technology by 0.7932-seconds to win the 2011 race.

NBC Sports Network will expand its coverage of this weekend’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 with more than six hours of coverage set to begin Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) with the latest episode of the all-access series INDYCAR 36. This week’s spotlight is on Charlie Kimball of Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing.

Following INDYCAR 36, the network will televise the three heat races that will determine the starting lineup for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 from 8-9 p.m. (EDT), followed by live flag-to-flag coverage of the race at 9 p.m. The network’s coverage of Friday’s Firestone Indy Lights Sukup 100 immediately will follow the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at approximately midnight (EDT).

Numbers worth noting following the Milwaukee IndyFest presented by XYQ, eighth of 16 events on the 2012 IZOD Indy Car Series schedule:

2 _Drivers to finish every race this season _ owner/driver Ed Carpenter and Simon Pagenaud of Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports…Number of laps Pagenaud has failed to complete in 2012 (1,061 of 1,063).

6 _ IndyCar wins for Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport, most by a current American-born series driver…Different teams represented in the top 10 in the series standings.

12 _Different drivers to finish on the podium in the first seven races of 2012.

15 _ Different drivers with at least one top-five finish in 2012.

16 _ Positions gained by Oriol Servia of Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing en route to his fourth-place finish at Milwaukee, most of any driver in the field.

27 _ Poles for four-time/reigning IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, tying Al Unser for eighth on the all-time list.

69 _ Points scored by Chevrolet-powered teams in the manufacturer standings. Honda is second with 63 points, followed by Lotus with 32.

84 _ Laps-led by Ryan Hunter-Reay at Milwaukee, most by any race-winner this season.

107 _ Points scored on ovals by Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe, who leads the A.J. Foyt Trophy standings.

189 _ Consecutive Indy-car starts for Tony Kanaan of KV Racing Technology, dating to the 2001 Championship Auto Racing Teams event in Portland, Ore. Kanaan, the 2004 IndyCar Series champion, and teammate E.J. Viso will be subject to 10 grid-spot penalties at Iowa Speedway as KV Racing Technology has opted to change Chevrolet engines in both entries.

– John Sturbin can be reached at jsturbin@racintoday.com

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Wednesday, June 20 2012
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