IndyCar heats up at Sonoma - Power gifted a win

Welcome to Indiana-ville from a photographer's perspective: Sonoma pit lane and the penalty!

One of the great things about shooting motorsports is the ability to get up close and see things from the inside which a lot of fans don't get to experience. So as I was watching the telecast of the IndyCar GoPro Grand Prix at Sonoma, I began to get a sense very early in the race that something wacky was going to happen.

Sure enough, it did, as a pit incident occurred involving members of Will Power's crew getting knocked over by Scott Dixon as Dixie left his pit box on the final set of stops. Team managers Tim Cindric (Penske) and Mike Hull (Ganassi) were politically correct in their television interviews afterwards talking about the need to protect the guys that go over the wall.

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: James M. Holland

Of course that is true, but was this situation really worthy of a penalty on Dixon which cost him the race win and handed it to Power? I think not.

After listening to Beaux Barfield's explanation, I must say that I understand his reasoning but everyone knows the pits are dangerous and shit happens. Thankfully no one on Power's crew was seriously hurt, but in my opinion, Dixon's collision with the tire held by Power's right rear tire changer was just a racing incident.

Barfield said the pit boxes were not being determined by the painted white lines on pit road since those were there for NASCAR but instead were sized by the banners hung by the teams on pit wall. That is just a load of crap frankly, and leaves too much open for interpretation.

Did Power's tire changer walk into Dixon's car with the tire on purpose as Mike Hull suggested? I doubt it. But you can't legislate intent and where there is room for interpretation, decisions ought to favor letting the race play out with no intervention by the officials.

If everyone had said something like "We do everything we can to protect crewmen on pit lane and it's an unfortunate situation which can sometimes happen on a crowded pit road", then I don't think anyone would have complained.

As it turned out, Barfield's decision may end up having a huge impact on the season championship and my guess is we haven't heard the last of the fallout from Sonoma.

Charlie Kimball, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti
Charlie Kimball, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti

Photo by: James M. Holland

The best part of the whole deal was hearing Dixon's interview afterward when he said "It was a dick move" by Power's crew member. Scottie D is usually as cool as they come but you could tell he was furious with a comment like that! And I don't mean to diminish the pit lane risks by any means, as I've taken hits from air guns while shooting pit stops and those things hurt! But let them race!

While I had to be in Indy couch racing this past weekend and haven't been able to shoot a race since the Mid-Ohio event, August has been a whirlwind for me and I will likely only have two more race events to shoot this year: ARCA at Salem Speedway September 14th and NASCAR at Talladega in October. Those races will bring my 2013 total to a nice round 10 race events. I could find more assignments to add to that total.

Two days after getting back from Mid-Ohio, I got a lead on a new teaching job and by that Friday evening I had the job and then started teaching the following Monday. With soccer officiating added to the mix on the rest of my August weekends, I have been crazy busy but loving every minute of it. I've told many people recently that I've gone from the outhouse to the penthouse with this new job and as much as I love shooting motorsports, I have to say that my cup runneth over and I have been truly blessed to do all the things I'm doing.

Until next time, I will leave you with a few shots to enjoy which show the variety of racing that occurs. Be sure to check Photos See you at the track!

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About this article
Series INDYCAR
Article type Commentary
Tags barfield, cindric, dixon, ganassi, hull, indycar, near incident, penalty, penske, pit lane, power, sonoma