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Power blasts race director Barnhart

Will Power was incandescent over the decision of race director Brian Barnhart to restart Sunday's race despite a wet track, a call that led to a multi-car wreck and a red flag.
Will Power was livid with IndyCar race officials at the end of the Indy 225 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, initially angrily calling on IZOD IndyCar Series race director Brian Barnhart to be fired.

The storm erupted after a controversial decision to go green ten laps from the end despite drizzle which had made the fast one-mile oval dangerously slick. The restart triggered a multi-car wreck which initially appeared to have caused disastrous harm to Power's championship campaign.

Power had been in fifth place when a caution came out for moisture on lap 206. The drivers all assumed that this would be the end of the race and that the final laps would be a parade behind the safety car, but instead were stunned to learn that race control were about to put out the green flag again despite no improvement (and possibly some worsening) of the conditions that had triggered the initial yellow.

Team bosses and drivers were quickly on the radio to remonstrate against the decision. "I was begging them, begging him, please do not go green, it's too slippery," said Power after he was caught up in a multi-car wreck caused by Danica Patrick spinning on the run down to the restart line. "So was everyone else. Everyone was saying it ... The track was in no condition to restart."

Team boss Michael Andretti was equally animated as he protested the decision, which threatened the position of his driver Ryan Hunter-Reay who was leading the race at the time. "This is the worst officiating I've ever seen," said Michael. "Sorry, Brian, but this was bad - really bad. We lost the car [Danica] and we lost the lead [Hunter-Reay]. I mean, this was just ... You don't do that - it was wetter than when they threw the yellow earlier, and they threw the green!" He added, "Normally Brian does a great job, but this time he really missed it."

In the immediate aftermath of the crash, Power likewise laid the blame squarely on the shoulders of IndyCar competition director Barnhart and went even further in his scathing attack.

"He makes such bad calls all the time," Power fumed. "This has got to be it. They cannot have this guy running the show. That was a decision to put a lot of drivers in danger ... It was no condition to race in. Shame on him.

"I just can't believe that they make decisions like that,' He added. "I mean, what are those guys up there doing? Al Unser, he's raced, he would never race in these conditions. To me, it was disgraceful."

It's the kind of outburst against a series' integrity that can lead to serious repercussions - fines or even suspensions - and Power knew that he had gone way too far, especially after flipping off the race officials in the tower with two one-fingered salutes that were caught on live network TV.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Oriol Servia, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon on the podium after the Indy 225 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. August 2011. [Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Michael Andretti discusses his anger at the decision to go green in the final laps of the Indy 225 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. August 2011. [Photo Credit: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media]
A red and then a chequered flag several minutes later ended the Indy 225 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. August 2011. [Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Brian Barnhart, the Race Director for the IZOD IndyCar Series. [Photo: IndyCar Media]
Will Power of Team Penske [Photo credit: IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon Road America
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi Indy Car [credit: IndyCar TV Twitter]
Will Power Texas
Ed Jones feature
Ed Jones feature
Ed Jones
Ed Jones feature
Ed Jones feature
Detroit IndyCar Andretti RHR
Takuma Sato Detroit IndyCar
Scott Dixon Indy 500
Takuma Sato 2017 Indy 500 winner`s circle
Takuma Sato 2017 Indy 500

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August 15, 2011 8:34 AM

You can act that way when they play with your lives like that. Political correctness can cause deaths. Indycar, in my eyes, has become an absolute freaking joke lately. It is about the show and money. Not about racing and safety.

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