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NTT INDYCAR Series

Pagenaud Non-Call Puts Magnifying Glass on Race Officiating

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Once again, the Verizon IndyCar Series has race control as a primary story.

During Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Simon Pagenaud exited the pits on Lap 55 of the 80 and remained ahead of Scott Dixon.  Pagenaud’s exit from the pits, however, is where the controversy starts, as his right side wheels crossed the end of the yellow blend line after the pit exit.

The final portion of IndyCar rule 7.1.3.5 states: Taking improper position upon leaving the pit lane or failing to follow the direction of INDYCAR may result in a penalty. INDYCAR’s determination of the order is not subject to review and/or appeal.

Much was made of Pagenaud’s exit of the pits, but what seems to be the issue is that much is being made ONLY of his pit exit.

Several other drivers made similar exits during the race, but nothing was ever mentioned about them.

For example, take a look at Tony Kanaan and Takuma Sato’s pit exits on Lap 54. Screenshots courtesy of Steven Kilsdonk

Why was nothing said about these pit exits?  Why were there no replays shown, especially after Pagenaud’s situation? It’s not like a long amount of time elapsed between pit exits.

Between Kanaan and Pagenaud’s pit exits, 63 seconds had elapsed, so it can’t be claimed that Kanaan or Sato’s exits were too early to be looked at on TV.

Another driver did some even more egregious track-cutting earlier in the race and not one reporter asked about it after the event.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Max Chilton undercut the inside curbing at Turn 5, and was only told not to do it any more.

After the race, not one reporter from NBC Sports Network asked Scott Dixon or Chip Ganassi about the course-cutting, despite it being more blatant than Pagenaud’s.

Why?

During the race, IndyCar tweeted that Carlos Munoz was also given a warning for a pit lane violation, but that was never mentioned on the broadcast, nor was any replay shown of Munoz’s exit.

Why?

IndyCar didn’t order drive-thru penalties for Chilton, Munoz, Kanaan or Sato.  To remain consistent, they had no choice but to not issue one for Pagenaud.

It’s also not right that only one pit exit gets highlighted by the broadcast crew while similar exits by top-tier drivers were never heard about.

EMAIL CHRISTOPHER AT christopherdeharde@gmail.com

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Christopher DeHarde is a native of Luling, Louisiana and has contributed to Motorsport.com, Motorsports Tribune, The New Orleans Advocate and Race22.com. He’s a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in Mass Communication and has been writing about motorsports since 2014. Primarily covering the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Mazda Road to Indy, DeHarde has also covered the FIA World Endurance Championship, Pirelli World Challenge and NASCAR.

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    I. Racer

    April 18, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    The rule you quote is about yellow flag procedures only. I think the rule you want is 7.10.1.1

    The title is also misleading as Indycar DID make a call (warning) on Pagenaud.

  2. Avatar

    V. Squared

    April 18, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    I don’t think there was anything wrong with the call.

    This image (I’ll reupload it via Imgur if it does not show up for you) shows Scott Dixon doing the SAME EXACT thing Pagenaud did, but there was no controversy about it whatsoever. The entire field did it, and just because the #22 did and Ganassi & Co. didn’t like it because they’re the only ones allowed to bend the rules, that doesn’t mean Pag stole a win away from Dixie at all.
    https://scontent-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpt1/v/t1.0-9/13012898_1055412141197580_6993396629808224055_n.jpg?oh=be622d9371247c51455653ae7414b73e&oe=57BD607F

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