Editorial

An Unappealing Appeal
George Reigns in GEORGE-town

 by Steven N. Levinson and Mark Cipolloni
July 3, 2002

Go to our forums to discuss this article

Tony George's ruling on the Team Green appeal of this years Indy 500 has resulted in a resounding negative reaction from the motorsports press.  In George's attempt to put an end to this years controversial finish, George's ill-considered decision has created a firestorm of controversy.  By so doing, he has forever tainted the Penske/Castroneves victory, and done irreparable harm to what little remains of IRL's integrity.

In this RPM.ESPN.com article, Robin Miller spells out  the total disregard the IRL and Tony George had for their own rulebook when ruling on this years Indy 500 finish. 

 

Miller: Asked why he bothered to continue with the appeal process, George replied: "Given the circumstances and the fact the Indianapolis 500 is the largest motorsports event, I felt it was important to allow the process to be played out." Played out to the tune of $100,000 in expenses, according to Green, who countered by stating his case was all about Tracy being ahead of Castroneves before any yellow lights came on and he then showed the media a copy of his denied protest on May 26 and the appeal procedure (signed by Barnhart).

 

Comment that document signed by Barnhart said the decision was appealable...to Tony George.  Barnhart signed it, now the IRL says it's not appealable.  Barry Green put it best - "I think Tony George lost his way."

 

Miller: Immediately after the race, Barnhart acknowledged he would use Rule 7.14 as one of the determining factors. It states: "The yellow caution period starts with the display of the yellow flag and/or yellow lights and ends with the display of the green flag and/or green lights. Racing ceases immediately upon display of the yellow flag and/or yellow light. Officials may call a yellow caution period at any time for any reason. Their decision to call, not to call, or end a yellow caution period may not be protested or appealed." But, surprise, surprise Gomer, the IRL is now saying a yellow caution period begins when race control calls it on the radio. In other words, act like the old United States Auto Club (former Indy 500 sanctioning body) and ignore the rulebook whenever it doesn't work in your favor. Racing ceases upon display of the yellow flag or yellow light! Not when two cars first smack the wall or an observer calls in to race control or when Barnhart asks his observers for details.

 

Comment:  Rule 7.14 does not say the caution period starts when they call for the yellow, it states it starts when the yellow light or flag is displayed.  Again, the IRL doesn't understand their own rulebook, making up rules as they go to suit their whim, in this case Roger Penske, Tony George's good 'friend' as Penske described the relationship himself.

 

In legal terms this is called 'Ex Post Facto Laws' - "Any law (in this case ruling) implemented AFTER the occurrence of a fact or commission of an act, which retrospectively changes the legal consequences or relations of such fact or deed." Ex Post Facto Laws are prohibited under the Constitution of the United States, however, the IRL rulebook is not subjected to the Constitution of the USA.  One minute before the 2002 Indy 500 green flag dropped, the IRL rulebook stated that racing ceases when the yellow light appears.  However, since that time and today's ruling, a new standard that does not appear in the IRL rulebook suddenly has taken precedence over and obviated the rule that was clearly set forth in the IRL rule 7.14. 

 

Now racing ceases when Brian Barnhart says it ceases, or in his own mind thinks it ceases.  One has to wonder how Honda and any new team or sponsor will now perceive the IRL's implementation of its own rules since it now appears that any ruling is subject to the discretion of the Chief Steward and his discretion is not subject to an appeal.  Ordinarily, in cases involving Administrative Law Hearings, the only means to overturn a discretionary ruling is to demonstrate that said ruling was "arbitrary and capricious."  We would like to refresh your memory that Honda has already been shafted by IMS and USAC back 95. The year USAC flagged the race green with the pace car still on the track, which the Tasman Team Honda powered car driven by Scott Goodyear passed (they could have kept the caution out and started the next lap), and was subsequently black flagged, and the race was handed to the Players sponsored Ford team and driver Jacques Villeneuve.

 

Miller: Watching George stumble and stammer through his prepared speech was painful enough, but the saddest part is that he didn't sound like he understood the process -- and he was judge and jury. When he realized he didn't have the last page of his notes, he looked to Fred Nation like a third-grader in his first Christmas play and was told to wrap it up. Green said he felt like George had lost his way. I don't think anybody who saw that news conference would disagree.

 

Comment:  And this is the same man who recently said he was going to make the IRL bigger than NASCAR and F1 in five years, the same man who brings his hammer to work everyday.  The same man who split Indy Car racing in two and has practically destroyed the sport.  A very sad commentary indeed.

 

In this Indy Star article, Bob Kravitz has this to say about the IRL Indy 500 appeals process

Kravitz:  "Here's what this was: a charade. A shameful, expensive, time-consuming charade. And it's one that drives yet another wedge into the IRL-Championship Auto Racing Teams split, virtually ensuring that Green will not come over to the IRL next season unless his sponsors take him kicking and screaming. The race is over now. The fight is not." 

Comment: Along with Robin Miller's article referenced above, this is another must read article.   Based on the motorsports press reaction to the decision, this can only be reasonably construed as a major blow to the IRL's integrity and the implementation of its own rulebook.

Rulebooks, rules, and evidence have no place in GEORGE-town.  What Tony George says goes.

The authors can be contacted at markc@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article

 

Author

 
Other Editorials

Champ Car's Minardi 2-seater is the ultimate ride

For Alex Figge and PCM it's baptism by fire

A tribute to Alfred J. Cipolloni

Champ Car owners move to silence critics

Establishing a firm foundation for Champ Car

One-on-one with Champ Car President Steve Johnson

J.R. Hildebrand is one American going places in a hurry

What's new for Champ Car for 2007 - Part 1

Champ Car positions itself for international expansion

Paul Stoddart confirms interest in Champ Car

An inside look at Champ Car TV production

Ho-Pin Tung wants to be Champ Car's first Chinese driver

Stephen King explains Justin Wilson's novel Investor's Club

One-on-one with American sensation AJ Allmendinger

Salem Speedway: When the High-Banks were on the road to Indy

Champ Car moving forward without the IRL

One-on-one with Paul Tracy

Bruce Delahorne explains CDW's sponsorship in Champ Car

One-on-one with Justin Wilson

Champ Car bosses won't be bullied

Part 2: NASCAR/ISC get dirty in Phoenix, out to destroy Open Wheel

Part 1: NASCAR/ISC get dirty in Phoenix, out to destroy Open Wheel

Does NASCAR have a chance in the global marketplace?

The Rahals: Like father, like son

Why and IRL/Champ Car merger will be a big boost for the sport

Headless Open Wheel Racing appears doomed

Richard Lyons looking at Champ Car for his next challenge

We salute the champions of 2005

Is Jay Howard the next Ayrton Senna?

Interview with Grand-Am President Roger Edmondson

Otaru, Japan Champ Car race moving closer to reality

Champ Car's global appeal may ride on mimicking the Team Australia concept

Champ Car's Surfers Paradise race promoter "gets it"

Champ Car cements another brick in its foundation

Custom built Champ Cars and Indy Cars

Conspiracy Theory: What Indy was really all about

Why the Champ Car/IRL war must end

How a Champ Car and IRL merger might work

Will the battle for Long Beach destroy its Grand Prix?

Katherine Legge has her eyes set on Champ Car

Traveling Light Media - Just what the doctor ordered

Champ Car lays out bold 3-year plan

Champ Car's 2005 driver lineup vastly improved

Hunter-Reay anxious to get started with new team

That sucking sound you hear is NASCAR

Feud - The story of the murder of Mickey Thompson

Yes, Blame Tony and the CART defectors too

Interview with ALMS President Scott Atherton

2005 a foundation laying year for Champ Car

Kalkhoven talks Champ Car with AutoRacing1

Kalkhoven and Forsythe buy Cosworth from Ford

Carl Russo is bullish on Champ Car

Can this be Champ Car's next-generation car

Champ Car appears poised for major comeback

Open Wheel Racing needs a win by OWRS - Part 2

CART/IRL Armageddon - Where the three horsemen of the Apocalypse meet the axis of evil

A Family "Thang"

Cancel the funeral

Love affair in Mexico

There's more than handwriting on the wall.....and here's the concrete facts

Labor Day weekend 1952...A weekend I'll never forget

An Unappealing Appeal, George reigns in GEORGE-town

Back-Breaking work

IRL at Fontana - a victim of friendly fire

Has anyone noticed?

Remembering Bob Estes

Will CART get Shanghaied?

CART - a stranger in a strange land

The inevitable globalization of CART

Champ Car Race Control - the 'Hot Seat Zone'

Open Wheel Racing is in serious need of consolidation

Champ Car South of the Border, An interview with Joe Heitzler

There is an easy way for Champ Car and the IRL to unify

From airport to race track, a race within a race

The 2-seater Car is one of Champ Car's biggest assets

Why Bernie Ecclestone could, and should, buy Champ Car now

Champ Car rocks the streets of Times Square in Manhattan

Why did Fernández leave Champ Car?  Follow the money....

Next Generation Champ Car: A call for F1 tires

Coming to America?  Interview with Ralph Firman Jr.

Open Wheel Racing defeats IRL - Champ Car Series to continue

Open Wheel Racing needs a win by OWRS - Part 2

The next generation Champ Cars - Part 2

Is CART next for Villeneuve?

New deal for CART may be better than first thought

The genius of one Bernard Ecclestone

CART Champ Cars, the next generation - Part 1

Details emerging on CART race in Seoul, South Korea

CART hits a Grand Slam in Mexico City.  Now What?

Top-10 Challenges facing new CART owners

CART can still race in Europe, but will they?

For CART, time is of the essence

Making sense of CART's situation

Push-to-Pass means no more parades for CART

An interview with CART's David Clare

What did Roger Penske really mean?

CART must differentiate itself - clearly

Why turbos make for superior street and race engines

For CART, it's now or never

Chicken or the Egg?

War of the worlds

What Bernie brings to CART

CART, Driven to where?

Is it really about CART vs. IRL?

If I were Bernie

The Champ Cars and St. Pete

An informal survey of the St. Pete race attendees

Artificial Dissemination

CART, F1 coming to grips with doing business in China

Cancel the Funeral

Why CART and F1 must, and will, share a common V-10 engine

Book Review: Autocourse 2002-2003 F1 yearbook

Does CART need Michael Andretti?

  2002 CART TV ratings by the numbers

Now is the time for CART to redefine its ladder system

CART, F1 could learn from the Good Ol' Days

CART gets a taste of tifosi passion in Mexico

Love affair in Mexico

Making sense out of Bernie/CART rumors

Changing of the guard?

Mom, apple pie, CART and....Formula1?

Why CART and Bernie make perfect dance partners

Miami should be a CART and ALMS kickoff party

David slays Goliath in Miami

What to make of Gurney's F1 team

Taking it to the streets, why Miami is a war zone

CART, like the Phoenix, about to rise up from the ashes

There's more than handwriting on the wall.....and here's the concrete facts

Labor Day weekend 1952...A weekend I'll never forget

Team owners show support for CART

CART still may be in cards for Villeneuve

Bryan Herta, USA's next best chance for F1

Is Paul Ricard in CART's future?

Attendance figures, what's in a number?

Is Brands Hatch suitable for Champ Cars?

An Unappealing Appeal, George reigns in GEORGE-town

A candid conversation with Chris Pook

More than meets the eye with CART's turbo move

It's time for CART to define its own future

Key upgrades at Road America

Back-Breaking work

The rebirth of CART

The hidden costs of Indy Car racing

CART's road and street circuits click with the fans

CART's road and street circuits are clicking with the fans

Is it sport, or a P.T. Barnum show?

IRL at Fontana - a victim of friendly fire

CART's 2003 race venues #1 in the world

Meet the Gonzalez brothers

ISC is making enemies in Miami

e-mail us:
contacts@autoracing1.com

Back to the top

AutoRacing1 is an independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by CART Inc., NASCAR, FIA,  FedEx, Winston, or any other series sponsor. This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without permission.
User agreement & disclaimer

Copyright 1999 - 2001, AutoRacing1, Inc., Hamilton, NJ