Two days later, GP of Indy’s Turn 1 mess comes under fire (VIDEO)


Post-race penalties are the norm for 2015 in the Verizon IndyCar Series; penalties have been doled out on the Wednesday after the opening four races of the season in St. Petersburg, New Orleans, Long Beach and Barber.

So it is likely that any penalties handed down in the wake of Saturday’s Turn 1 mess involving several cars to kick off the second Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis will also follow on Wednesday.

The interesting thing is, while Helio Castroneves avoided any penalty for avoidable contact in the immediate aftermath of apparently triggering the first of two Turn 1 accidents, he still managed to finish ahead of all other drivers either in the accident or who avoided it to the outside of Turn 1, with the exception of Charlie Kimball – who took the escape road to avoid, but didn’t gain any Lap 1 positions (started 14th, ended Lap 1 14th, ended fifth overall).

Here are two videos of the accident, from two different angles. The top one is the IndyCar footage posted to its YouTube channel; the second is from a fan seated outside in the corner.

Castroneves and Scott Dixon both explained their sides of the incident, via the official IndyCar release:

“I was just trying to make sure I didn’t hit anyone – and that I didn’t get hit – in that first corner,” Castroneves said. “Just wanted to put the No. 3 Verizon Chevy in a good position there. Unfortunately, I clipped (Scott) Dixon in the right rear when he turned into the corner. Obviously him spinning out put me into the grass and we lost many spots. From there it was a great comeback for the team.”

Dixon countered, “Well, we had a great Target car today and I was looking forward to gaining some ground in the points after starting on the front row. There’s not much you can say about the start. We got turned around from behind and then had damage to both front and rear wings, and had to change both. Tough day for the Target car.”

Here was the starting grid (LEFT), and here’s how the field looked at the end of the first lap (RIGHT), with positions gained/lost from the starting grid:

Pos # Driver Pos # Driver Gained/Lost
1 1 Will Power 1 1 Will Power
2 9 Scott Dixon 2 22 Simon Pagenaud +3
3 3 Helio Castroneves 3 11 Sebastien Bourdais +4
4 2 Juan Pablo Montoya 4 20 Luca Filippi +5
5 22 Simon Pagenaud 5 2 Juan Pablo Montoya -1
6 10 Tony Kanaan 6 15 Graham Rahal +11
7 11 Sebastien Bourdais 7 6 JR Hildebrand +8
8 8 Sebastian Saavedra 8 98 Gabby Chaves +8
9 20 Luca Filippi 9 26 Carlos Munoz +12
10 4 Stefano Coletti 10 4 Stefano Coletti
11 41 Jack Hawksworth 11 25 Justin Wilson +7
12 21 Josef Newgarden 12 8 Sebastian Saavedra -4
13 5 James Hinchcliffe 13 14 Takuma Sato +9
14 83 Charlie Kimball 14 83 Charlie Kimball
15 6 JR Hildebrand 15 10 Tony Kanaan -9
16 98 Gabby Chaves 16 5 James Hinchcliffe -3
17 15 Graham Rahal 17 3 Helio Castroneves -14
18 25 Justin Wilson 18 7 James Jakes +2
19 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 19 27 Marco Andretti +5
20 7 James Jakes 20 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay -1
21 26 Carlos Munoz 21 19 Francesco Dracone +4
22 14 Takuma Sato 22 18 Carlos Huertas +11
23 18 Carlos Huertas 23 9 Scott Dixon -21
24 27 Marco Andretti 24 41 Jack Hawksworth -13
25 19 Francesco Dracone 25 21 Josef Newgarden -13

Rahal even addressed the first corner chaos in the post-race press conference, as to how he cleanly gained so many positions.

“Honestly, it played out perfectly,” Rahal said. “Honest to God, I said to my dad before the race, he said, ‘What are you going to do at the start?’ I said, ‘I’m going to go as far left as I can. When they all crash on the inside, I’ll be on the outside, so I will have a great angle to cut to the apex. Worst comes to worst, I’ll have to do the shortcut. Rather than being inside and getting collected in the whole deal, it’s going to be fine.’

“It literally worked perfectly. I saw smoke everywhere, then next I see him. I got Hildebrand going into four. But it kind of just worked. As Juan said, part of this deal is luck. We had the pace, for sure, but that definitely went our way.”

Kanaan, who like his teammate Dixon was caught out in the first turn mess, argued the lack of a decisive call from race control – which is done by a steward committee rather than placing all decision-making on just the Race Director’s shoulders – proved costly.

“Helio divebombed into me and Montoya and then hit Dixon, how he started it,” Kanaan told Indianapolis ABC reporter Dave Furst (full interview here). “I went around and a lot of guys went off the course and gained positions. That was it.

“Track position was so important here today. Once they didn’t reposition the guys that cut the course to get ahead of us, because cutting the chicane you’re much quicker, it was pretty hard. Not getting the penalty on the 3 car, taking Dixon out, it is unacceptable in my opinion. Race control did an extremely bad job.”

Kanaan broke down in words what the above chart does in terms of who gained and lost positions by way of either going through the grass or going around the outside.

“It was avoidable contact… he took Dixon out … he made a big mess through the field. Second mistake of race control? Not actually repositioning the field. You got guys who started in the top six going to 19th, the guys 19th cut the course and got up to fourth. Bad call, but it is what it is.”

The Indianapolis Star’s Curt Cavin (linked here) and’s Robin Miller, who’s also an NBCSN IndyCar pit reporter (linked here) each argued their points, agreeing with the 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion in wondering why Castroneves wasn’t called in for a drive-through for avoidable contact. As Miller notes in his piece, the contact is of the same degree that Rahal’s contact of Kimball was in St. Petersburg, but Rahal was issued a drive-through during the race.

The one thing IndyCar can’t be perceived to have is inconsistency or indecision in race control; both of which appeared to re-emerge on Saturday.

Still, figure any post-race penalties would be close to coming down the pike on or before Wednesday.

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

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SMX develops “Leader Lights”
Power Rankings after Detroit
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Results and points after Detroit
Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points