IndyCar could punish Graham Rahal for Long Beach crash with Marco Andretti

UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. IndyCar officials have placed IZOD IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal on probation through the next six race events for blocking and initiating avoidable contact during the race on the Long Beach temporary street circuit April 15.

On Lap 22 of 85-lap race, Rahal made contact with the No. 26 car driven by Marco Andretti in Turn 8, which launched Andretti's car into the air before it made contact with the tire barrier. Andretti climbed from the car without assistance from the Holmatro Safety Team.

"Due to the inability of the No. 38 car to continue the race, a review of the on-track actions of Graham Rahal became a post-race issue," said Beaux Barfield, INDYCAR president of competition and IZOD IndyCar Series Race Director. "All stewards have reviewed the incident and have decided that the on-track actions of Graham warranted probation because of driving that endangers on-track safety and adversely affects competition."

The probation period will end following the IZOD IndyCar Series event June 23 at Iowa Speedway. If the improvements are not met, INDYCAR may impose other penalties at its discretions.

Per Rule 9.3.2 of the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook, a driver must not alter his/her racing line based on the actions of pursuing drivers to inhibit or prevent passing. Blocking will result in a minimum of a black flag "drive through" penalty.

Rule 9.3.3 states a competitor must not initiate or attempt to initiate avoidable contact that results in the interruption of another competitor's lap time or track position.

The probation penalty may be protested pursuant to the rulebook.

04/17/12 Graham Rahal still could be punished by the Izod IndyCar Series for his role in Sunday’s crash with Marco Andretti in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.)

Chief steward Beaux Barfield said he has been studying footage this morning and likely will render a statement this afternoon. He has been in text contact with Rahal and Andretti.

“They know the situation is still open," Barfield said.

Andretti was attempting to pass Rahal when it appeared Rahal’s car moved slightly into Andretti’s path. Barfield said the video he saw at the track was inconclusive, but he has a new perspective on it since returning to Indianapolis.

“I’ve been looking at it backwards and forwards all morning to get a real feel and I think that the contact was initiated after Graham moved defensively," he said. “That defensive move based on the proximity of the cars and based on the fact Marco was already moving definitely puts more responsibility on Graham, I’ll say very nicely." Indy Star

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