Scott Dixon may have lost much more last Sunday than a win.
“A bit of a dick move.”
I’m sorry. I just loved that quote from Scott Dixon. So why did he say this quote I’ve been using since Sunday? During the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Scott Dixon in his 9 Ganassi Honda and Will Power in his Penske 12 Chevy came down to pit road. While exiting, the rear of Dixon’s car and a tire being carried by a tire charger collided.
It caused a chain reaction that also took out two other crew members. Thankfully, most importantly all three men were okay. Little bruised, but okay, and IndyCar officials and most importantly race director Beaux Barfield made the decision that action needed to be taken. Scott Dixon was brought down pit road during green flag laps to serve a pass through penalty. He went from leading, to a finishing outside the top ten.
During the race while Dixon was leading, a graphic on the screen showed the points lead of Helio Castroneves had been cut to eight points. After the penalty, the points had swung to a margin of thirty-nine. He lost eight points on Castroneves after the previous race at Mid-Ohio.
So what happens if Scott Dixon isn’t given this penalty? He leaves Sonoma only potentially eight points off Castroneves. And the next four races become very, very interesting.
Are the odds insurmountable for Dixon to overcome? Hardly, last year Ryan Hunter-Reay pulled the mother of all comebacks to claim the title. The problem here is the call itself, and what the call resulted in.
If you go back and look at the incident there are three problems. Problem number one, the crewmen holding the tire for Will Power’s team has absolutely no clue what in the world is going on. I’m one of the few who don’t believe he did it on purpose after looking at every possible t.v angle. Problem number two, could Scott have gone just a touch wider and missed the tire changer? Sure. But if the tire changer is holding the tire in front of him, then he doesn’t get hit.
The third and perhaps the biggest problem is this. This all went down under caution, which was followed by roughly five to six more laps of running before the call was made. Why wait so long for the call? Why do it after they go green? Dixon wasn’t going to make it back to the lead starting from the tail end of the field. Once Power was out in front, it was over. But why take so long?
The only thing I can think is once again IZOD IndyCar has another inept race director. Maybe that’s the biggest problem of all. I’m not saying the powers that be in NASCAR, NHRA, or F-1 are perfect. I’ve broken more remotes then I’ve proud to admit screaming about NASCAR’s decisions. NHRA’s lack of talking to teams about the way to keep the bodies on the car in the event of explosion is still a hot button. And please don’t get me started on F-1. For the love of all that is good and noble in the sports world, don’t get me going on F-1.
The thing that is most concerning though, is if Scott Dixon loses the title to Helio Castroneves a black mark to many, will be placed on the win. Because everyone will wonder what if Barfield doesn’t decide to make that call? What if IndyCar hadn’t inadvertently decided the champion?
Then the fear that Barfield is no better than the previous regimes will be realized. IndyCar has had problems this year in Toronto and Milwaukee with bad calls. When does it stop and everything finally get back on track?
Hopefully soon, so that way the regime doesn’t mettle in another championship battle and risk destroying the integrity of it.
In random news:
The sale of the Phoenix Racing is official. Harry Scott as the owner is official. Justin Allgaier is his driver for at least three races is official. The fact I don’t care any longer considering how ridiculously long it took is also official.
Martin Truex Jr., broke his right wrist in the crash at Bristol that included him, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, and others. He had a special cast made and will be in the NAPA car on Sunday at Atlanta.
Gene Haas was so giddy in signing Kurt Busch he mentioned some very, very interesting details. The gist of it is as follows, he went behind his co-owner Tony Stewart. He wants to see his company in victory lane that’s why he’s paying for the sponsorship out of pocket with Haas Automation. Stewart-Haas Racing is beginning construction on a new building. I feel I can’t summarize this any better than the great Marty Smith of ESPN did with this: I’m Gene Haas, and I’m richer than you. Trust me.
Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing will announce their official driver for the 42 on Friday around 2:30 PM local time in Atlanta. The strongly rumored choice is of Kyle Larson. Larson is Ganassi’s development driver and it looks like he believes it’s time to bring him up.
Bobby Labonte will miss the race in Atlanta, as he was to drive the 51 and will be replaced by Mike Bliss. Labonte was involved in a bicycle accident near his home, and suffered three broken ribs. Alright, I’ll ask the question. Who broke the NASCAR injury mirror? If you go back last year we’ve had the following drivers miss races due to injury Dale Earnhardt Jr., due to a concussion, Denny Hamlin with major back issues, Tony Stewart with a broken leg, Martin Truex Jr., broke his wrist and got lucky to not miss the race, and now Labonte.
Random Sports/Non Sports Thought:
After reviewing this article I’ve come to one conclusion….I’m a bit of a jerk and I don’t spend much time mincing words when I’m only working off two hours sleep…….
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So until we meet again just know, I’ll be waiting for you at the next left turn in Hotlanta at Atlanta Motor Speedway!