The Go Beaux Grand Prix of Sonoma
Nothing new to add to the real work done by IndyCar reporters Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star and Marshall Pruett and Robin Miller of Racer.com. Their interviews with Derrick Walker and Beaux Barfield have given fans the perspective of the IZOD IndyCar Series. The rules makers and enforcers were in agreement: if you hit a crewman, you get a penalty. How does this not seem reasonable?
Well, if you are Scott Dixon, you try to sell the story that your hitting a tire-changer for Penske Racing’s Will Power was not just an accident, but an intentional move by Travis Law, the tire-changer who took flight after Dixon bounced his car off the tire Law was carrying. I have a hard time buying that Law was playing a game of chicken with Dixon’s car while using a tire as a matador uses his cape. Olé, indeed.
Was it an accident? Certainly. Did Dixon hit Law intentionally? Of course not. Did Law use the area allotted to him to do his job? Absolutely. Here is where the arguments get specious.
- Law wanted to get hit. Can anyone really make this argument? Don’t even try to say that a guy is willing to get hit by a rapidly accelerating race car. This is not a Quentin Tarantino movie.
- Law should have been carrying the tire in a more “narrow” fashion. Do people actually think a tire-changer is going to think about carrying a tire in a “narrow” fashion? You carry the tire, period. While not overly heavy, an IndyCar wheel and tire is most certainly awkward. The object is to get around the car quickly and safely. The rear tire-changer is not under the time pressure of the front tire changer. That guy HAS to get out of way fast.
- Scott Dixon was turning the steering wheel left, thereby causing the accident. Well, this is technically true, but it was good driving. Any dirt track racer knows you turn into a skid. When Dixon turned his steering wheel right to exit his pit, the spinning rear wheels moved his rear end to the left. To correct this, he turned his wheel left to straighten the car. Good driving.
- The pit boxes were not clearly marked, leading to confusion. I agree that the pit boxes were not clearly marked for the fans and, apparently, the TV announcers. While this is true, they are most definitely clearly marked for the teams and drivers. They know. The fact that the fans don’t is insignificant. Unless you are a fan, of course.
- Since the race lead and the series championship were on the line, race director Beaux Barfield should let the drivers decide it “on the track.” This way lies madness. If a rule is worth writing, then at one time someone must have thought it was worth enforcing. What’s interesting here is that if Dixon had run over his own air hose, everyone would have agreed that a penalty was in order. But hitting an opposing crew member while he was doing his job in his pit should be a gray area. Can you imagine a rules meeting where someone proposed that hitting a crew member should NOT be a penalty? The next thing you know there would be a bounty on them.
- Race Control is inconsistent. Other infractions took place that were not called. Boo hoo. Big deal. So what. Calls are made or not made in every sport. That’s the way it goes. Buck up.
Beaux Barfield made the correct call. I say Go Beaux! And always remember, illegitimi non carborundum. Don’t let the bastards wear you down.