The three-member panel charged with hearing the protests filed regarding the finish of the IZOD IndyCar Series race at New Hampshire has ruled against Newman/Haas and Ganassi Racing, and the original results have been upheld.
The panel, which consisted of New Hampshire Motor Speedway executive vp and general manager Jerry Gappens, along with USAC chairman Jeff Stoops and former U.S. Auto Club chairman Rollie Helmling, explained its decision in a statement:
“After hearing the excellent presentations by each of the participants in the protest hearing and after reviewing and being sympathetic with each of their positions, the Protest Panel was unanimous in its decision. It is this Protest Panel's conclusion that IndyCar Senior Official Brian Barnhart had the authority under the governing 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook to render the decision that was made. We also agree that his decision to abort the restart and set the finishing positions that existed before the attempted restart to be an exercise of reasonable discretion. The protests as to Target Chip Ganassi Racing car No. 9 and Newman/Haas Racing car No. 2 are hereby denied.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay, driver of the No. 28 Team DHL/Circle K/Sun Drop Citrus Soda car for Andretti Autosport, was declared the race winner following a red flag because of rain on lap 220 of 225 at the one-mile oval. Oriol Servia, driver of the No. 2 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing car, was the race runner-up and Scott Dixon in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car finished third.
"We are very pleased with the decision given by the committee on the New Hampshire race finish," Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti said. "We, at Andretti Autosport, believed all along that Ryan was the winner of the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 and this decision verifies his victory. We have two big road racing events coming up in the next two weeks at Sonoma, Calif., and Baltimore, Md., and we can now focus on getting back to Victory Lane at those races. Thanks again for the support of our sponsors and fans."
Added Hunter-Reay, who led 71 laps to record his first victory of the season: "The conditions were not ideal that day. And a proper decision needed to be made."
Posting on Twitter following his team's presentations to the panel on Tuesday, Servia admited that he thought it likely his side would not prevail, although he was satisfied that they had presented a strong case.
“Extremely proud of Newman/Haas presentation of the events. Facts and integrity of the race and the sport were clearly remarked and stressed," he tweeted. “The opposition's main point is that Brian Barnhart has full power to override all rules with his decisions. That is also a true fact.”
The decision may be appealed by 5 p.m. ET on Friday but Newman/Haas, at least, indicated it was ready to put the issue behind it. Team owner Carl Haas, said in a statement, "The IndyCar Series granted us a hearing and has been very cooperative in providing us with requested information enabling us to adequately present our case. We feel that we gave the panel proof that Oriol was the winner of the event when the checkered flag ended the race. Naturally, we are very disappointed in the panel's ruling that five laps of the race be struck from the results but we appreciated the opportunity to state our position."