IndyCar »

Barnhart discusses controversial call

Barnhart pointed out that even Johnny Rutherford, driving the pace car, hadn't objected to the restart: "Johnny at that point in time hadn't relayed either that it was a bad decision to go at that point in time."

Asked where the system had broken down, Barnhart suggested that race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay might have nailed it. "I think Ryan said it best ... I don't think people really understand how little water it takes or how little moisture it takes to have an adverse effect on the ability of these cars to perform.

"I have great trust and respect for the people that we have out there ... There's a thousand times they've made these calls, and they're right 99.9 percent of the time," he insisted. "When you're up in an enclosed room, glass in there, you're not outside, you don't know, you're counting on information from other people, it can kind of put you in a Catch-22 position, and you're counting on a lot of information."

"I'm learning as we go along how difficult it is up in race control," contributed a rueful Al Unser Jr., the driver member of the race officials. "We had several tough decisions up there that we had to call [especially about moisture.] I don't know how many times I ran outside to see how the moisture was, because Brian's asking around the track, you know, of the observers and he's asking me to go outside. And I went up on the roof. And I went out back several times to figure out, you know, has enough moisture fallen to shut it down?

"It was a tough decision, tough call, especially the last one we were getting information that it was good to go."

Barnhart admitted that he and the rest of race control had held the pressure to deliver to the fans, both at the track and watching on television: "We could have tooled around behind the pace car and just thrown the checquered and the yellow at the same time at 225 and we would have made a lot of fans angry in the race grandstands," he pointed out. "Based on the information we had, we were going to try and put on a show for them. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the wrong way to do that."

Speaking at the same post-race press conference on Sunday, third-placed Scott Dixon had some sympathy for Barnhart and the race officials, agreeing that the conditions out on track had been "kind of confusing."

"It had dried up. It did start raining on the last lap coming to the green," he said. "It is a tough call. I wouldn't want to be the one trying to decide."

"It's a tough one," agreed race runner-up Oriol Servia. "They actually asked me. I said it's raining harder, I would wait another lap or something. But it's tough for them, too. It's five laps to the end, they're trying to get it.

"It's hard to guess how wet it is. I don't want to throw everybody under the bus. It's tough to decide. They asked, 'Hey, what do you think, should we restart?' I don't know what to answer," he admitted. "20 seconds before [the green flag], it started to rain again. It was a difficult call, I think."

Servia was still smarting at another of race control's decisions - to ignore the final 'aborted' restart and the ensuing laps under yellow. Seria had passed Hunter-Reay for the lead in the brief seconds under green, but lost the win when race control took the decision to roll back the race.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Brian Barnhart, the Race Director for the IZOD IndyCar Series. [Photo: IndyCar Media]
Will Power and Carlos Munoz flank winner Mike Conway during their victory lap (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon rolls out of pitlane during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz, Mike Conway and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz, Mike Conway and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates pole position in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay leads Sebastien Bourdais during the early stages of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay leads James Hinchcliffe during the early stages of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway (centre), driver of the #20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory with champagne Sunday, April 13, 2014 after winning the IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California. Will Power (right), driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, finished second. (Photo Credit: Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power on track (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay around the fountain turn during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on course during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on course during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on course during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on course during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Will Power signs an autograph for a young fan at Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power on course during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


Tony G - Unregistered

August 16, 2011 8:17 PM

If it's BB fault let the interview end at there. No reason to bring up pit techs, Little playing lightning rod and referring to race control. Also, who's fault/decision is it to revert to the final yellow. Now I have a pretty fancy TV and DVR. Every time I rewind I see a green flag and RHR passed.



© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.