In a bizarre series of events, Mario Dominguez won the CART Indy 300 today in Surfers Paradise, Australia. Heavy rains were the cause of most of the weirdness, but a curious decision on the timing of the end of the race by CART's stewards will have people talking for some time to come.
The race was halted just after the green flag for a massive accident on the starting straight. Nine cars were damaged in the crash (including Dominguez') and two drivers, Adrian Fernandez and Toranosuke Takagi, were sent to the hospital for x-rays. Takagi was diagnosed with a slight fracture of the pelvis, but Fernandez suffered no broken bones.
A full restart was called, allowing the drivers with damaged cars to go to their backup cars, with the first few laps being run under the yellow flag in hopes of a cleaner start.
The cars got the green on lap 3 but only six laps were run under green flag condition before another heavy shower put the field behind the pace car for the remainder of the race. From that point it became a chess game as the teams tried to decide when to plan their pit stops, while trying to guess when the race would be stopped.
The race was originally scheduled to go 70 laps, but after the long delay for cleanup of the opening lap crash, the distance was reduced to 50 laps. To be an official race, the cars would have to go 36 laps (one more than half the scheduled distance.) For some reason, the decision was made to go to lap 41 before ending the long slow parade, but increasing downpour caused the CART stewards to wave the checkered flag at the end of lap 40 with Dominguez in the lead.
Patrick Carpentier finished second, followed by Paul Tracy, Kenny Brack, and Tony Kanaan. A full race report will be posted soon.