IndyCar race director Beaux Barfield says that a combination of human error and a computer glitch were responsible for Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon mistakenly being issued with a drive-through penalty at Milwaukee.
Dixon was penalised for jumping a restart, despite that restart being waved off moments later when leader Helio Castroneves went too early, meaning that the actual restart did not come until the following lap.
According to Barfield, the timing system and replay system in race control had fallen out of synch by 36s, which meant that the first restart on the replay system corresponded almost exactly with the second restart on the timing system.
Barfield said that he then made an error by halting the replay immediately after Dixon’s apparent indiscretion rather than letting it run for an extra few seconds, meaning that he failed to pick up on the fact that the timing was out and that he was watching the wrong restart.
“I take responsibility for it being the wrong call, and certainly have my issues with it moving forward, about how we prevent such things happening in the future,” Barfield said. “It was a technical issue, certainly a little bit of human error, but painful nonetheless.”
Barfield said that he had already spoken with Dixon, team owner Chip Ganassi, and team manager Mike Hull, but that there was nothing that could be done to redress the mistake.
“Once a penalty is served, I can’t jump back in there and undo it,” he said. “They were told exactly what happened, the Ganassi team, Chip himself, Mike Hull, Scott Dixon, were very gracious. They appreciated my candour; explaining to them truthfully what happened.”
Dixon had climbed from his starting position of 21st to third when he was issued with the penalty. He eventually finished the race in 11th place.