IndyCar president of competition Beaux Barfield addressed the assembled media members at the Milwaukee IndyFest following a call made to penalize Scott Dixon a drive-through penalty for jumping a restart on lap 103. A transcript of Barfield's comments are below.
The way the call happened, first me let me explain the process. The process is that, whatever a call for questioned position, a jumped restart or a pass under yellow, it comes from different areas. Observers, teams, people in race control.
That process began on that restart. The first thing when we get that call is look at the time of day, on our official scoring system. We had a restart/jumped start, situation called. We went to that time of day, and the scoring system, backed up the replay machine, to match that clock, which is synced everyday, and looked at the replay.
We looked at the replay at what ended up being the backed off restart the lap before and made the call, which was clearly a jumped start. In a green flag situation, it was waved off for that reason.
We made that call, as it happened in race control, and I have several officials who make the call. They looked at it, they had a consensus, they brought it to my attention. I took one quick look at it, looked at the time of day, the restart, when the pass occurred, and finalized the call.
We made the announcement, served the penalty. When it got brought back to our attention that it was either the wrong call, a disputed call, or on the wrong lap, we traced it down and tried to figure out exactly what happened. We reviewed it through the same process I just explained, which is going through the time of day, syncing it to the replay machine, and syncing through it.
When we did our complete download after the race, the clock on our replay machine was 36 seconds off from the official time of the race. Thirty-six seconds happened to match up perfectly to the lap before, based on these circumstances.
Had it been 40 seconds off, it would have been a clock issue. If 28 seconds, a clock issue. It synced up so perfectly that it was convincing it was the wrong call based on the reality of the situation. Technology completely got us.
I take full responsibility for it being the wrong call. Certainly, I have my issues going for it. It was a perfect storm with what we were seeing on the video.
Where does it leave Scott Dixon? It's racing, and once a penalty is served, I can't then jump back in and undo it. The reality is, they were told exactly what happened. The Ganassi team, Chip himself, Mike Hull, Scott Dixon, were very gracious. They appreciated my candor with them in explaining exactly what happened. We hopefully never hear of this again.
The second one we looked at, all the circumstances, didn't change things. I knew we had a serious problem. We thought we were looking at the correct one, based on the fact the time of the restart matched up perfectly with the first one rather than the reality of the second. We checked the clock on our system.
Part of this we have two independent systems, timing & scoring software and data, on a completely different system with our replay. We sync our clock everyday and this was 36 seconds off. There's obviously a problem with that system that needs to be resolved.
My biggest error in this is that I didn't play it far enough forward, and moments later realized this was the waved-off start; it didn't make sense. The other guys in race control looked at it completely separately. We ran a point on the replay. Getting things back to green, other items I was attending to.
They brought it to my attention, and we replayed it forward to the pass in question to a couple seconds. If we would have played it four or five seconds forward, we would have seen it as a yellow flag.
My mistake. I have been through issues before to play an incident all the way through to provide the full context, and that was an oversight on my part. It was a technical issue and certainly human error. It is painful, nonetheless.
I think they knew by how open I was and my taking full responsibility for the fact that it was an error. I think they took it well.
You don't explain this in a paragraph! There's too much context necessary. You have to understand the process and normal procedure. We were baffled by it, trying to figure out what happened. We thought timing & scoring hit the button for the restart and kept it green for the lap before. When we determined that wasn't the case, we thought what the heck went wrong. That was our first thought, that the system pushed at the wrong time. That wasn't it.
When it started to come to my attention, that's when I had the guys trace down in terms of waved off starts, proper restart, time of day. When all those worlds collided, we started to get to the bottom of it.
The first restart was waved off because I believe Helio [Castroneves] was leading and went too early, that was in the starter's hands. Starter took control back.
Visually? We have become too much dependent on technology, and putting humans back in the mix isn't necessarily the solution of the problem. Is it a software issue with the system we used, or a hardware issue with the computer we use? Therein lies a solution to the problem. From an officiating standpoint, it might make us a little gun shy going forward for the next few calls in terms of making sure we get everything beginning to end.
Is this like Texas 1997? I don't think it's that ugly. It's definitely unfortunate for Chip Ganassi and Scott Dixon, but I think it's an easy resolution.