The Indianapolis Star reported Tuesday that IndyCar officials are meeting this morning in Indianapolis to determine if protests filed by two teams – Newman/Haas Racing and Target Chip Ganassi Racing – are allowable. The teams have challenged the results of the rain-shortened race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, in which the results of a late restart were disallowed, resetting the final results to the order before it.
Newman/Haas driver Oriol Servia took the lead from Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay on the abortive restart, which was thwarted when Danica Patrick spun in the wet conditions and collected several cars, including championship contender Will Power. Newman/Haas believes that under the rules, Servia should have been declared the winner of the race.
"On the last restart, I had a good one," Servia explained. "Ryan [Hunter-Reay] had a problem; I don't know if his tires were cold or what, but he had a bad start and even Scott [Dixon] passed him. I was ahead when they called the leader at the yellow, clearly. They even said, ‘Car 2 is the leader.' I have never, ever seen them reverse the order before, so it's unfortunate for Newman/Haas Racing and the Telemundo team. It's devastating."
Dixon agreed. "As Oriol said, if you go off how we normally race and the rules that we have, today I don't even know why we have a rulebook, because it makes no sense," declared the New Zealander. "When have we ever gone back? We're not racing dirt cars, we're not racing USAC. We don't go back to a previous restart. We don't count pace laps. When has that ever happened in IndyCar racing? Never, in my 10 years [here].
"You know, it's just so confusing. Ryan deserved to win the race [but] Oriol won. I finished second. Ryan didn't go [at the restart]. We went past the restart cone. You snooze, you lose. That's the same thing that happened to [Mike] Conway at Edmonton. If you don't go, it's free game. And he didn't go."
In addition to the prospect of higher places for Servia and Dixon at the expense of Hunter-Reay, of course, is the heavy significance to the points race if the protests were to lead to the results being re-tabulated to include the order after the disallowed restart. Power would be classified ninth rather than fifth, and so gain fewer points on Ganassi's championship leader, Dario Franchitti.
Meanwhile, IndyCar president of competition Brian Barnhart confirmed that a fine or other penalty could be forthcoming for Power for his behavior following the botched restart. The Australian made an obscene gesture toward the track's giant screens that was seen by ABC's live TV audience. Power later apologized to an ABC reporter for "losing my temper."
“It was pretty egregious and out of control,” Barnhart told the Indianapolis Star when asked about Power's actions.