In an announcement today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy Racing League president Tony George denied Team Green's appeal of the finish of the 2002 Indianapolis 500, confirming the victory by Helio Castroneves. George's primary reason for...
In an announcement today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy Racing League president Tony George denied Team Green's appeal of the finish of the 2002 Indianapolis 500, confirming the victory by Helio Castroneves.
George's primary reason for denying the appeal rested on IRL Rule 11.2, which states that the decision whether a car passed another car during a yellow caution period "or any matter which involves the exercise of judgment by the officials during an event may not be protested or appealed and the decision of the officials is final and binding."
"Officials must use their judgment in making these calls," George said. "The IRL officials do not have the benefit of instant replay, telemetry data or any other device to make their judgment. Rather, when they call a yellow caution period on Race Control radio, they immediately determine the placement of all of the cars from visual observation and from observation of television monitors in Race Control.
That is precisely why the Rule Book states that the decision whether a car was improperly passed during a yellow caution period may not be protested or appealed"
This was precisely the position presented by Team Penske's Tim Cindric in the June 17 appeal hearing, where he represented Castroneves' interest.
Barry Green, the principle of Team Green, Paul Tracy's car owner, had presented in the same hearing a substantial amount of evidence supporting their contention that the signal for the yellow flag was not given to the drivers prior to Tracy's pass of Castroneves for the race lead. Asked at the press conference today, but left unanswered, was the question that if the original decision was not protestable, why the hearing was held in the first place.
George did say, however, that the evidence showed that Castroneves was ahead at the time of the caution and that he would have decided in Castroneves' favor if Rule 11.2 had not precluded it.
Fred Nation, the IRL's VP of Communications, stated in the official IRL release: "The information presented to George showed that Castroneves was leading Tracy at the time Race Control called the yellow caution period by radio; at the time the red flag with yellow cross (pits closed) was displayed; at the time the yellow dashboard light system was activated; at the last scoring time line before the yellow caution period commenced; and at the time the yellow dashboard light radio on car No. 3 received the yellow light signal."
As this statement is at odds with Green's belief that Tracy was ahead at the time the drivers recieved the yellow signal, most observers (including this reporter) are curious to know what Team Green's response will be to today's announcement.