IndyCar official admits mistake on Dixon penalty
WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) - Scott Dixon was confused and annoyed. As it turns out, he had every right to be.
Dixon was penalized for jumping a restart Saturday in the IndyCar race at the Milwaukee Mile, and race director Beaux Barfield acknowledged afterward that he shouldn't have been.
"I'm actually very excited to see what the hell they're talking about,'' Dixon said after the race. "I'm disappointed.''
After explaining the situation to the team, Barfield acknowledged the mistake publicly, noting that a failure in their timing and scoring system caused them to look at the wrong replay. A clock was off by 36 seconds, throwing off their system.
According to Barfield's explanation, what officials mistakenly looked at was a replay of a previous restart - one that was waved off by officials at the time and didn't count. Dixon did commit a potential infraction on the restart that didn't count.
But Dixon didn't do anything wrong on the subsequent restart that ended up counting and should not have been penalized.
"It was obviously the wrong call, based on the reality of the situation,'' Barfield said. "But based on the clock leading us the wrong way, technology completely got us.''
Barfield took responsibility for the mistake, and said officials with Dixon's Chip Ganassi Racing team were "very gracious'' when presented with an explanation.
"They appreciated my candor with them, explaining to them truthfully exactly what happened, and thought, `It's racing,''' Barfield said. "It's one of those strange things that we've probably never heard of and hopefully never hear of happening again.''
Dixon finished 11th. Barfield said there wasn't anything officials can do to undo the mistake, but said officials will work to resolve the problem.
"It's racing,'' Barfield said. "Once a penalty is served, I can't then jump back in there and undo it.''
IndyCar officials have been in the spotlight for the past week.
Points leader Will Power was penalized for blocking at Texas, a controversial call. Then officials were second-guessed by drivers this week for issuing a relatively light penalty after finding a technical infraction - one they initially missed - on Texas winner Justin Wilson's car.
Barfield admitted that the Dixon mistake might be on their minds beyond this week.
"It's probably going to make us a little bit gun-shy, to be honest with you, for the next few calls that we make, in terms of making sure that we get everything from beginning to end,'' Barfield said.
MILWAUKEE MOMENTUM: Even before all the fans had made their way to the seats for Saturday's rain-delayed IndyCar race at the Milwaukee Mile, race promoter Michael Andretti had an announcement to make about the event's future.
Speaking on the track's public address system, Andretti told the crowd that IndyCar would be back to Milwaukee in 2013.
Andretti Sports Marketing announced that next year's race would be held June 14-15 next year, with tickets going on sale Sunday.
"I think we had a great crowd for the first shot out here,'' Andretti said. "It's something to build on. We're going to be back here next year, and hopefully for a long time after that.''
The announcement provides some much-needed stability for the historic but financially troubled Milwaukee track. After not holding any major racing events in 2010, Milwaukee hosted an IndyCar race in 2011 but drew a lackluster crowd.
Milwaukee originally was left off the 2012 IndyCar schedule. The race was brought back after Andretti agreed to take over as promoter.
BARRETT'S BACK: No longer in the spotlight of a nationally relevant recall election, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett was at the Milwaukee Mile before Saturday's IndyCar race.
Barrett lost the recall to Scott Walker last week, leaving Walker in place as Wisconsin's governor.
"For me, I've always loved being the mayor of the city of Milwaukee,'' Barrett said. "Obviously, it was a very unique situation here in Wisconsin with the recall. But I love being the mayor of Milwaukee, and I'm delighted to be here today.''
Barrett praised the Andretti family and local business leaders for supporting the Milwaukee race.
"I'm very optimistic, and it's really because of Michael Andretti and the Andretti family,'' Barrett said. "They have shown an amazing commitment to this, and I'm very grateful on behalf of this community. And I think it's a reflection of the rich history we have here in Milwaukee, at this track, and I think just that the Andretti family has at this track. A lot of times decisions shouldn't be made on emotions, and I know they're not. But it helps to have the family relationship.''
MOBILE MADNESS: Given the IndyCar Series' focus on technology, there's more to a modern corporate sponsorship than simply slapping a company name on the side of a race car. Verizon, the primary sponsor of Will Power's car, has developed an IndyCar application for mobile phones as an additional way to reach fans.
Users who download the app get access to live in-car cameras, radio communication between drivers and teams, timing and scoring and a radio broadcast. Early in Saturday's race, users could hear rookie Josef Newgarden and his crew struggling to fix an ill-handling race car.
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