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Suspension over Baltimore 'near catastrophe'

According to some reports, track marshals were already struggling with malfunctioning radio equipment before the race - a common problem on street and road course tracks - and had to switch to a back-up system, but in any case had been told to ignore the activities of the Holmatro Safety Team because race control says that it knows where they are at all times.

The fact that the IndyCar statement says that the truck "was to move to its station between turns 2 and 4" implies that race control was aware of its presence on the course, but the throwing of the green flag suggests that race control may have simply assumed that sufficient time had passed to allow it to complete its transit - but never actually received confirmation or checked that this was the case.

Compounding the problem are other reports that two other safety trucks stationed at the entrance of turn 1 were also still backing into position as cars came down the start/finish straight for the first time at speed, suggesting that more than one member of the Holmatro Safety Team was caught out by the track going green when it did.

"That was crazy," tweeted Graham Rahal. "We 1st took the green [and] a truck was moving end of front straight, then the other truck out of T1!"

That puts the spotlight squarely back on the communications protocols between race control and the various track officials, safety crew team, pit techs and spotters which was so recently the focus of the mis-call to try a late restart at the end of the New Hampshire race that ended in an accident, seemingly because race control was apparently not told of worsening track conditions as rain began to fall.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Close-up overhead shot of turn one on the street course at Baltimore at the double-file start, showing the Holmatro Safety Truck narrowly making it off the track before the leading cars arrive head-on. [Photo Credit: LAT Photo USA for IndyCar Media]
Ryan Hunter-Reay reviews telemetry data in his pit stand during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay apexes the Turn 9A chicane during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay sits in his Andretti Autosport Honda on pit lane prior to practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal sits in his Honda machine on pit lane during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, Josef Newgarden, and Graham Rahal drive their machines across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
James Hinchcliffe, Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Marco Andretti, and Graham Rahal at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti, Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Graham Rahal, and James Hinchcliffe bring their machines across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in victory circle after winning the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday August 23 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates on the podium with Josef Newgarden and Juan Pablo Montoya after winning the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday August 23 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates with the Andretti Autosport team in victory circle after winning the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday August 23 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in victory circle after winning the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday August 23 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates in victory circle after winning the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday August 23 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay arrives in Victory Lane after winning the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday August 23 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay takes the chequered flag to win the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday August 23 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay is congratulated in Victory Lane after winning the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday August 23 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Andretti Autosport`s Ryan Hunter-Reay wins the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday August 23 2015. (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal leads a group through the Turn 2 Keyhole turn during the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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Peter - Unregistered

September 09, 2011 3:54 AM

The question of "why the green flag was issued while the safety truck was still on the track?" is the wrong question. That truck was already off the track in its correct position between turns 2 and 3. At the very moment Race Control called "Green! Green! Green!", the truck jumped out onto the track from its safe and correct position and, with sirens blasting, did a u-turn and headed toward turn 1 driving like a bat out of hell. I know because I was in Grandstand 8 opposite the truck and listening to Race Control on the radio when the truck jumped out onto the track. I believe a more appropriate question is: who authorized the truck to go back out on the track at the very moment the race went green? Any why the sirens? I never heard a safety truck use its sirens before.

chasmunch

September 12, 2011 4:45 PM

Seems to me the chain of command leading to the Start Finish flag man are actually at fault...the green flag shouldn't drop til there is an all clear from every safety check point around the circuit. Having been at Baltimore, there's plenty to sort out before 2012. A headon with the safety truck would have been the exclamation point on a very lucky week end for all concerned



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