There were eight caution flags in last Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto and six of them involved cars running into each other. Only one penalty was assessed — to Mike Conway for allowing his car to hit Ryan Briscoe's.
There was no investigation of Takuma Sato for rear-ending Danica Patrick or Helio Castroneves for hitting Alex Tagliani, both of which resulted in full-course cautions.
How can Castroneves get into Tagliani and spin him around and there not be an investigation? If you are going to investigate Ryan Briscoe for running into Tony Kanaan, how can you not investigate Castroneves?
Ditto for Takuma Sato.
This is the sort of thing that has many people angry about the inconsistency of officiating in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Verdict: the officiating is about as bad as it is in the NHL, and that's saying something.
Then there was the penalty/no penalty levied/not levied against eventual race winner Dario Franchitti, who collided with Will Power and spun him around.
Shortly after they crashed together, TV play-by-play announcer Bob Jenkins announced that Franchitti had been handed a drive-through penalty. Jenkins mentioned this several times and went so far as to pontificate that Franchitti would be better to take the penalty sooner rather than later because to procrastinate might end up costing him down the road.
A few minutes later, he announced that IndyCar had decided not to penalize Franchitti.
After the race, IndyCar officials said they had never called a penalty against Franchitti. In fact, Al Unser Jr., one of the officials, went on live TV to say that a penalty had not even been considered.
So what’s going on? Did Bob Jenkins dream all that stuff up, or what?
The victim of Franchitti’s aggression was Will Power. Power suggested, on live TV, that race officials had been pressured into not penalizing Franchitti.
Said Power: “IndyCar won’t penalize him because Chip Ganassi goes up there and gives it to ‘em and it’s just wrong.”
Translation: IndyCar officials are afraid of the wrath of Ganassi and don't dare penalize his drivers.
Now, somebody wrote the same thing, or words to the same effect, on Paul Tracy’s Twitter account. The name Chip Ganassi was apparently replaced by the name of Randy Bernard, the IndyCar CEO. But the message was the same: race officials were bullied into not penalizing Franchitti.
Now, Tracy denies writing that and says it was the work of a hacker. But that’s immaterial. What’s interesting is that Tracy has reportedly been threatened with a hefty fine for allegedly Tweeting the same thing that Power said on live television.
If you’re going to threaten Paul Tracy with a fine (this was reported in the Indianapolis Star, by the way), shouldn’t Will Power also be fined for saying it first on television?
All anybody wants out of IndyCar is consistency. It ain’t gettin' that anywhere.