Dixon Fined; INDYCAR Officiating Getting Weird Again?
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
There were a lot of people in the INDYCAR paddocks and grandstands who toasted the decision to replace Brian Barnhart with Beaux Barfield as the series’ top cop. There are less people now that are continuing to toast Barfield’s hiring.
In fact, there are some out there who want Barfield gone. And for the same reason that the Barnhart regime came under fire: inexplicably bizarre calls and non calls made by series officials during IZOD IndyCar races.
And those becoming disenchanted with Barfield, who came over to INDYCAR in 2012 from the American Le Mans Series where he spent four years as race director, are not likely to be happy with penalties levied against driver Scott Dixon on Friday.
The latest of the curious actions by Barfield came last weekend at the Baltimore Grand Prix. They involved – for the second race in a row – Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dixon and his hopes of winning the 2013 championship.
In the race, Dixon first was spun by Graham Rahal at the first corner following a lap-48th restart. Then, five laps later, Dixon pulled out in an attempt to overtake Will Power of Team Penske on a restart. Power cut in front of him, sending Dixon’s car into the wall.
Also angering Dixon was IndyCar’s decision not to bring his damaged car back to pit lane to get repaired and potentially get back on track – something Dixon said was called for by rule.
Dixon, whose championship hopes were damaged when he was bizarrely penalized for a pit lane incident with Power’s crew (a Penske tire changer wandered into Dixon’s path out of his pit stall) at Sonoma the week before, vented at the Penske team and Barfield following the Baltimore race.
He glared at Power as they crossed paths after the race, called him a couple choice names and called Penske president Tim Cindric a piece of ****.
Dixon then directed his anger at Barfield and those inexplicable calls and non-calls with which several drivers and teams have took umbrage this season.
“There’s just no consistency,” Dixon said. “The 15 (Rahal) turns us (no penalty), the 4 car (Oriol Servia) does the same thing on the next restart and gets a penalty, the 12 car (Power) ran over an air hose in a pit stop, gets no penalty.
“And even not taking our car back to pit lane, that’s what I was pissed off so much about. We just had a bent toe road and an upper A-arm, which is maybe 3-4 minutes to change out … for them not to bring the car back, which clearly states in the rulebook if there’s only 10 laps to go, then maybe not, which is fair because there’s not much distance to go. But at that stage there was 27 laps left to go, so to not do anything there is beyond me.”
Dixon then suggested a remedy.
“I’ve had that same situation with Beaux at Long Beach two years ago when he left me in the run-off for the whole race,” Dixon, a former series champion and Indy 500 winner, said. “We had an engine thing that could’ve been fixed in no time. It’s quite obvious that Beaux can’t do his job, is not capable of it and needs to go.”
During his introductory press conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Barfield promised to take a hard line when it came to things like blocking. He promised more consistency in issuing penalties. He said he would like to create better lines of communication between teams and drivers.
Clearly, some think the promises have gone unmet.
On Friday, INDYCAR relased the following statement: INDYCAR officials have fined IZOD IndyCar Series driver Scott Dixon $30,000 and placed him on probation through Dec. 31 for comments made following the Sept. 1 Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT.
“Dixon violated Rules 18.104.22.168 and 9.3.7 when he made disparaging remarks toward INDYCAR officials and other competitors after the race.
“22.214.171.124. Using improper, profane or disparaging language or gestures in reference to Officials, Members or action or situations connected with INDYCAR, the IZOD IndyCar Series, or any Event.
“9.3.7. If any Member uses improper, profane or disparaging language or gestures and references a specific Official by his/her name, such Member may be find a minimum of $25,000 and may be subject to additional penalties based upon the particular circumstances.
“Because of the public display of these actions, Dixon will be able to work off the fine by making a public appearances on behalf of INDYCAR.
“The member may contest the imposition of the penalty pursuant to the procedures and timelines detailed in the protest and appeal procedures of the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook.”
Barnhart was demoted, in part, because many in the paddocks and grandstands had lost faith in his administration.
Barfield now appears to be facing a faith crisis of his own.One Comment