So where to even begin this week? Okay, for starters—penalties for open and frank views. The IZOD IndyCar Series has had a well documented problem in Race Control—it is run by a bumbling buffoon. Brian Barnhart ( TGBB for Robin Miller fans), has done just an awful job at his role this season. His right-hand man (Tony Cotman) has had some questions of his integrity with the O2 debacle in the Firestone Indy Lights Series earlier this year.
What has been consistent in 2011 is not the rules enforcement during the races (as you are all use to by now), but of being punished for giving an honest opinion. While it can be argued that O2 may have spoken with no evidence, their two year suspension only adds ethanol to the conspiracy fire.
Now Helio Castroneves has danced his way into the INDYCAR penalty box. He has a $30,000 fine, and has been ordered to do community service. (which may very well reduce his probation period). The league has claimed it was for profane tweets following Motegi. However, I suspect it was more for his candid Op-Ed in the days after Motegi in the Brazilian language Journal Metro newspaper titled, “IndyCar has a serious problem called Brian Barnhart”. Translated versions of this candid Op-Ed can be found here & here.
As a staunch supporter for honest dialog and transparency in the IZOD IndyCar Series, I saw this as a great move by Helio. He can afford any cash fine thrown his way—and the excuse machine for Barnhart has yet another hole placed in their Zeppelin of love. Once again Team Penske taking the bull by the horns and kicking him, you know where. After all—they are from the Death Star. (Credit @PressDog )
The numbers of fans who do not like Barnhart far outnumber the few left who do support him. It is hard for this once glorious series and sport to be taken serious–with Barnhart calling the shots, and his critics being squelched. One can only hope he will not be back in race control come 2012. (And according to several reliable sources it is very likely he will not. However no one will go on the record on this, nor do they know any real possible replacements yet).
Who do you the fans think should replace TGBB?
The 2012 car was tested at IMS this week. Some true diehard fans came out to see it in person. The engine has a sound we have not heard in some time. I suspect many felt like Darth Vader on the Death Star when Obi Wan arrived. (Star Wars reference number two). Thanks to a loyal member of the Rebel Alliance (@IndyRam500), we have some exclusive video of the new car at speed. (albeit short)
Is it me, or is this the sweetest sound in years?
Stay tuned this weekend to Open Paddock. I will have a post race re-cap Sunday night. Plus we will have Joe one of our photographers at Kentucky. Also we will have a new “shooter” debut at Las Vegas. The one thing we love to provide you the fans, is a never ending supply of new exclusive pictures of; the cars, personalities, and venues that are the IZOD IndyCar Series.
In closing I have one final thought.
There is a story many fans are talking about on-line. I feel it is really none of our business. (Yes, this from the same person who once made a Scott Harrington joke. Shame on me!) This is a disease, and a personal health problem. It is not appropriate for us the fans to gossip like a bunch of yentas. As many of you know I am a life long Tim Richmond fan, and feel a driver (current or former) also does have the right to some privacy as well.