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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]
Will Power wheel-to-wheel with Graham Rahal (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Briscoe go wheel-to-wheel during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
The cars of Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais go off course during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The cars of Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais go off course during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The cars of Ryan Briscoe and Sebastien Bourdais go off course during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The field scatters as the drivers avoid the cars of Sebastien Bourdais and Ryan Briscoe at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon and Simon Pagenaud on the podium after the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal shows off the his new helmet prior to the morning warmup for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on pit lane prior to the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Graham Rahal gets strapped into his machine before the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay navigates the Turn 9 Esses during practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe enters Turn 3 during practice for the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at the Milwaukee Mile (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay enters Turn 3 during practice for the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at the Milwaukee Mile (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Briscoe exits Turn 5 during the final practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on course during practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay on the pit wall at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay at Mid-Ohio (Photo by: Chris Owens 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.



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