Barber blocking controversy #1: Sato vs. Wilson (VIDEO)

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Takuma Sato was given a penalty for impeding Justin Wilson in the end of Q2, and was barred from continuing into the Firestone Fast Six despite a quick enough time to advance.

“We got a qualifying penalty for impeding so we’re not able to move on to next session,” Sato’s team director Larry Foyt told IMS Radio. “This whole deal, everyone’s trying to make room, and there becomes an accordion effect. What happens three cars ahead then trickles back. We lost our best laps as well getting held up.”

Sato explained his side of the story from the driver’s seat.

“In the second segment I had to back off because there was a slower car in front of me at the exit of Turn 5,” he said. “So I abandoned my qualifying lap and I tried to stretch the space. I checked my mirror on the back straight and there was no one there and then going through Turns 7 and 8 which is where the elevation changes which is probably the worst place for Justin Wilson to catch me because I couldn’t see anything behind me. When I was able to see that he was coming on I tried to keep my line tight and let him have the racing line. Obviously it was close but I was disappointed to be penalized.”

Wilson, usually as gentlemanly as they come, was less diplomatic after the incident.

“I’m really upset by what happened,” he said. “The No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda was really fast today. We definitely had a top three car today, possible even a pole-winning one. My red tires were just coming in and I was working on a very quick lap when Sato slowed down in front of me and didn’t get out of the way. That caused me to slow down and have to go around him. Once I came in into the pits I ran right to the IndyCar trailer to see if they saw the incident. They took Sato’s two fastest laps away, which was some sort of justice. I just feel bad for the crew because they have given me a pole winning car this weekend.”

Scott Dixon’s take on the matter was humorous, given he fell victim to a mistakenly issued penalty from race control at Milwaukee last year.

“I didn’t know race control had it in them. Good to see,” he opined.

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Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.