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Probation for Rahal after Long Beach

The probation period will end following the IZOD IndyCar Series event at Iowa Speedway on June 23. IndyCar can impose other penalties at its discretion if the improvements are not made in the standard of driving over the period. Rahal can still exercise his right to appeal the decision.

IndyCar officials also reported back about why Andretti's car was thrown into the air by wheel-on-wheel contact despite the introduction of rear wheel guards or "bumpers" to the new DW12 cars this season. Video and telemetry evidence showed that the speed and shallow angle of approach of Andretti's car squashed the guard inwards from the side, leaving the wheels with enough overlap to allow the direct contact that threw the #26 skywards.

"The rear wheel guard was designed to reduce wheel-to-wheel contact. It can't eliminate it," IndyCar's vice president of technology Will Phillips told "In this instance, it could not prevent it but it mitigated what could have been a worse accident.

"In several instances during the race it did exactly what it was designed to do," he insisted. "In one instance, it was not able to completely prevent wheel-to-wheel contact."

Meanwhile, Graham Rahal has also been trading messages with Marco's grandfather Mario Andretti on social networking service Twitter, after Rahal made a comment to the Associated Press that seemed to disparage the Andretti family name as a whole.

"What's Marco's last name?" Rahal was quoted as saying by the AP at Long Beach. "I've said enough."

"What is your problem with me?" Mario Andretti shot back the next day on Twitter. "Your quote to AP says Marco is an Andretti so enough said. That insult includes me. You insulted me to the world & I responded."

Rahal resisted the impulse to continue the row in public and tweeted instead that he was very surprised that Mario had chosen to do so rather than call and discuss in private. Subsequent tweets revealed that it was then Rahal made the first call and that peace broke out, at least on Twitter.

"Thank you for the call," said Mario on Tuesday. "All is well between us. Now let's go win some races."

"Great speaking with you," said an equally polite reply from Rahal. "We will get some wins no doubt, see you in May!"

Time will tell whether the nascent feud between two of the most famous American families on US motor sports has been defused or whether it will spark again at the next race in São Paulo, Brazil on April 29 or at the Indianapolis 500 in May.

Related Pictures

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Graham Rahal in pit road at Kentucky Speedway [Photo credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
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Johnny Rutherford, McLaren-Honda-Andretti [Credit: McLaren Racing]
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Alexander Rossi - Andretti Autosport   [pic credit: Indycar Media/Joe Skibinski]
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Phil - Unregistered

April 18, 2012 9:48 PM

Exactly Maxx - Michael's allowed to drive (as he usually does) like an idiot and play the martyr. It was his completely unreasonable maneuvre which ruined Rahal's day. A few years ago, we'd shrug and say he's young & impetuous. Now he's just a liability and a danger with his "I'm coming thru so get outta my way" attitude

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