IndyCar best racing in USA - More fender rubbing than NASCAR Monday was just as spirited for the IndyCar Series following a rough afternoon at Sonoma Raceway.
In the Sunday race, five drivers were black-flagged for avoidable contact, six if the race leader’s controversial call on pit road is factored in. There was an event-record seven full-course cautions. Afterward, a former champion criticized the race director.
Even those who have seen everything in the sport shook their heads at what they saw.
“Not sure what to say about yesterday,” Bobby Rahal said in a Monday morning Twitter posting. “But I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much reckless driving. More fender rubbing than NASCAR!”
Rahal said side-by-side restarts “invite disaster” and the sturdiness of the cars “promotes extreme risk taking.”
Much of that happened Sunday in Turn 7, the hairpin where on almost every lap at least one driver took the inside line in a bid to shortcut the hairpin and make a pass. Justin Wilson, Simona De Silvestro and Charlie Kimball got turned around in that corner.
Contact even befelled roommates. James Davison didn’t have much good to say about the block Sebastian Saavedra put on him late in the race, which led to Saavedra crashing hard against a concrete wall and then a tire barrier. “He (cost) us both out of a good result,” Davison said in a text. The two share a Castleton-area apartment.
Of course, much of the focus was on Scott Dixon’s car hitting a Will Power tire that knocked two Team Penske crew members to the ground and had another icing his ankle after an air gun hit him. There was considerable debate over blame. But that was only part of the after-ire.
Franchitti, in particular, was so angry about the officiating that he emphasized it during the post-race news conference. He called himself “the victim” in a corner duel with Power.
“You know, I’m pretty pissed off right now,” the four-time series champion said. “Yeah, will was pushing hard. It wasn’t some crazy, really mad thing, but you know, I was driven off the track and nothing was done about it.
“So I’m more mad at race control for not doing anything, as usual, than I am at Will, really.”
Power didn’t know what the fuss was about.
“I mean, we barely touched,” he said in the press conference. “I’m surprised. That’s just racing. I’m surprised at his displeasure.
“Dixon did exactly the same thing to me when roles were reversed on the first restart. Dario seems to have a short memory because in Detroit (in June) at the first corner he hit me a lot harder and I lost a bunch of positions.
“It’s just racing; he’ll cool down. Double-file restarts, what do you do? We’re side-by-side. Cars are going to touch. It’s not like I KO’d him into the wall.”
Roger Penske was so angry about Marco Andretti’s restarts that he confronted the Andretti Autosport driver on pit road after the race. Michael Andretti didn’t see the exchange, but he wasn’t happy about it.
“That was a stupid thing to say,” Michael said Monday. “If he was (jumping restarts) he’d have been penalized.” More at Indy Star