Indy Hump Day Report: Race Control, we make things up as we go

Where are the rules and procedures written?:

Ah yes consistency, an act the men of INDYCAR Race Control seem to be lacking of late. One has to wonder if the reason rule books are so hard to find, is they write every seasons rules on an “Etch A Sketch”. Only to find parts missing when ever Helio has committed a violation.

What really gets me is the excuses they have been giving today on why Helio did not get the same treatment as Tracy. According to Al Jr.; Helio was not brought in for his turn 1 contact with Power because he, “did not advance position.” REALLY!?!

So that means it’s only cheating if the person doing the “chrome honking” passes the person they punt– it’s all good! Well ok then, remember this when a lapped car punts a leader.

Can you imagine if for arguments sake; E.J. Viso is eight laps down and punts Simona as she tries to pass Kanaan? I guess that would be ok since E.J. did not advance from the move. Do you see the can of worms this questionable interpretation gives?

Barnhardt’s own notes seem to call BULL on this decision. (Thanks to Joe Berkemeier for supplying this pic.)



I got to speak to James Hinchcliffe this past Monday on The Inside Groove at Race Fan Radio; seems they contradicted themselves on this issue pre-race. They both said no-passing in 11, and there was no parts of the track that were “no passing”. Did Race Control even know what rules they were supposed to enforce? This also might explain the whole lack of a double file re-starts (or START!) for the race. Was it against the rules to be side by side in the turn?

All I can say is, #ParkBarnhardt !

From the Press Statement issued today (In regards of Helio going into the next race):

He has our attention because he has made poor choices in two of the three events,” Unser said.

Sixteen camera angles around the circuit plus in-car camera video are monitored by four officials in Race Control – president of competition and operations Brian Barnhart, Firestone Indy Lights chief steward Tony Cotman, director of operations and Star Mazda chief steward Bill van de Sandt, and Unser (Firestone Indy Lights driver coach).

When issues arise, officials confer over the video replays.

Helio made a poor choice going into Turn 1 and took out his teammate in the process, but he did not improve his position,” Unser said. “As a matter of fact, if we were to have him do a stop and go or put him back at the end of the line – like we did with Ryan Hunter-Reay at Birmingham a week earlier — he would be in the same spot that he ended up because his engine died and he went to the back of the line anyway. He basically served his own penalty.

With Paul Tracy and Ryan Hunter-Reay, they both improved their position by taking somebody out.

Did I miss something here? The one incident with the 22, didn’t Helio gain a spot then?

Listen I like Helio in that he brings interest to the series. Lord knows how many of his shirts and stickers I have bought my mother the last few seasons. Why the fear of enforcing a rule on him? I mean, what event gained the most press for the series in 2010? Oh that’s right, calling Helio on a penalty.

Did they let this slide for Charles’s safety?

Enforce the rules for everyone, or don’t have any rules! This sort of “Tom Foolery” makes me think the driver of the number 3 IZOD INDYCAR is named “Dale Helio Jr.”!



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4 Thoughts to “Indy Hump Day Report: Race Control, we make things up as we go

  1. If anyone wants to hear it, here is the link:

    It’s right from the get-go, make your own opinions…

  2. Same story, different season. Inconsistency and favouritism in the officiating is blatant in IndyCar right now. Makes taking the series seriously very difficult.

  3. I agree with Spike and Doug. Shaun and I talked about it on the podcast last night as well and pointed out how Puntstroneves improved his position by punting Wilson, so their argument makes no sense….. especially in light of the fact that PT got a drive thru for punting Simona in the same corner just a few minutes later.

    Also, the argument that Helio took himself and his teammate out being punishment enough is drivel. Dixon was also taken out by that incident and ended up finishing 18th while Helio finished 12th. If it was only between the teammates, fine, but Dixon got caught up in Helio’s stupidity, so that argument does not hold water and Helio deserved to be further penalized.

    It is interesting that the series trotted out Al Jr. to defend race control. Clearly they are aware that their chief steward is a public relations problem. Perception is reality, and the perception has been building for many seasons that Barnhardt is trying to control the races by designating no-passing-zones, strung out starts at Indy, and being inconsistent with the penalties. The fact that Al Jr. and the others in the booth are being brought in to the conversation more and more makes it apparent that IndyCar recognizes that they have a PR problem with their chief steward. Maybe it is time to stop defending him, stop bringing out likable Little Al to make excuses for him and stop employing him.

  4. Randy

    Careful with the use of quotation marks. Double quotes means you’re quoting someone verbatim. Of course, if someone involved in Race Control actually said, ” we make things up as we go ” I stand corrected. Otherwise it could be libelous. No need to thank me.
    PS: I agree. Helio received favorable treatment, in my opinion.

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