The IZOD IndyCar Series management has moved quickly to deal with team and fan dissatisfaction about the penalty that was handed out to Scott Dixon at Sonoma last Sunday.

With immediate effect from this weekend's race at Baltimore, there will be changes to the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook and to the way that pit boxes are marked out on pit road. The changes follow a mid-race incident on pit lane last weekend in which the #9 Ganassi car was handed a drive-thru after clipping a crew member working in the Penske pits.

Dixon's pit box had been right behind that of Will Power's on pit road, and he was finished and pulling out before Power had completed his own stop on lap 64. Penske crewmember Travis Law was carrying the worn right rear wheel away from Power's car, and Dixon's left rear sidepod hit the tyre that Law was carrying with sufficient force to flip the crweman into the air. When he came down he collected a second member of the Penske crew, although neither man was seriously hurt in the incident.

However the rulebook clearly stated that Dixon was to be handed a drive-thru penalty for hitting a crewmember in another team's pit stall, and as a result he lost the lead of the race which was eventually won by Power. The controversial call was made by race director Beaux Barfield, who made no apologies afterwards for his decision.

"Ultimately, we have a duty to protect everybody in the pit lane," Barfield said. "If we have somebody who uses less than great judgement when they leave their pit box and we have an incident, then we have to make a statement by penalising. And we're going to make that call."

The Ganassi team was furious and intimated that Law had deliberately positioned himself and the tyre he was carrying to make it as difficult as possible for Dixon to exit his pit stall.

"It looks like he walked straight into our car," fumed Dixon after the race. " You could see where the other car in front of us was pitted and he walked into us, on purpose. That's probably the most blatant thing I've seen in a long time.

"If you watch most pit guys, they try and get out of the way of other people," he continued. "I had a straight line heading out of the pits and he just walked right into us. You also look at the calls people make and what they did in Race Control so I look forward to hearing what that was all about. The consistency here is horrible."

Part of the issue was that the lines marked out on pit road were for other racing series and did not correspond to the actual allocations laid out by IndyCar. As a result it looked to TV viewers as though the rear of the #12 was right on the rear line dividing the two pit boxes, and that Law had therefore intruded into the Ganassi pit box and was blatantly holding the tyre out in Dixon's path, while other camera angles confirmed that he was still completely within the Penske area as he was entitled to be.

"There are a couple of different angles, and clearly the #9 car crosses right into the #12 car's space and that's where the violation occurred," insisted Barfield. "He [Dixon] was in the #12 car's box for a good half-car length."

However the question of whether Law was either subconsciously or unwittingly positioning himself to make things difficult for Dixon and thereby affect the race results did need addressing, with IndyCar adding rule 7.9.17 to the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook ahead of Baltimore.

The new rules states that any participant who, in the opinion of the officials, positions a car, equipment, and/or personnel so as to create a hazard or disruption of the event or to interfere with the activities of another competitor may be penalised.

And IndyCar has also decided on a new, clearer way of marking out the pit stalls that teams will be working in to make sure there are no further misunderstandings. The rectangular markings will now feature 'cut-off edges' marked by dotted lines, which IndyCar refers to as 'courtesy zones', where a crew member working within the box will be expected to be aware of competitors entering and exiting the pit stalls in front and behind, and where they will share in the responsibility of ensuring there are no accidents or obstructions.

That means that in the event of a violation, Race Control will be able to look at the incident and judge which side is to blame, rather than having their hands absolutely tied in the matter by the rule book as was the case at Sonoma.

As well as Baltimore, the courtesy zones will remain part of pit boxes defined by painted lines for the three races left in the IZOD IndyCar Series season.

In addition to the change for increased pit stop etiquette, IndyCar also amended the rule relating to the display of the blue flag shown to cars who are about to be overtaken by race leaders or much faster cars.

Rule now says that when displayed from the starters stand to a lapped car, as ordered directly by the Race Director, the blue flag is a command to immediately give way. During the race, any car failing to give way within one lap of the display of the blue flag from the starters stand will be penalised.