IndyCar has placed Alex Tagliani of Montreal and two others drivers, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mike Conway, on probation through Dec. 31 for what they say are multiple instances of initiating avoidable contact (translation: crashing into people).
Brian Barnhart, president of competition and operations for the sanctioning body, said the series was "disappointed in these actions, which have exhibited a pattern of driving that endangers on-track safety and adversely affects competition."
Two of the drivers, Conway and Hunter-Reay, are employed by Andretti Autosport. Conway brought attention to himself by running into Ryan Briscoe during the Honda Indy Toronto and Oriol Servia in Edmonton.
Hunter-Reay was cited for driving into Briscoe at Barber Motorsports Park earlier in the season and Takuma Sato at Edmonton.
Tagliani was fingered for nailing Will Power in Toronto and Graham Rahal at Edmonton in which Rahal drove back onto the racing surface after being speared and went directly into the path of Paul Tracy. Both those cars were eliminated.
The IZOD IndyCar Series will race this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on a twin-bill with the American Le Mans Series. If the so-called bad behaviour continues, there could be additional penalties but, in the meantime, the drivers may also appeal their probation.
Race driver Ashley McCalmont of Ancaster (she competes in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge) has raised nearly $7,000 for the McMaster University Children’s Hospital. There will be a cheque presentation on Thursday, between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., at Lo Presti’s at Maxwell’s, 165 Jackson St. East, in Hamilton. Well done.
The AP wire service is reporting that Danica Patrick will leave IndyCar at the end of the year and race a full season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2012 with JR Motorsports, a part-time Sprint Cup schedule with Tony Stewart’s Stewart-Haas Racing team and the Indianapolis 500 as well as a warmup Indy car race before the 500.
It adds up to a busy schedule for the woman that Forbes magazine is calling the third highest-paid female athlete in the world behind Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki.
Of course, the women still are nowhere near the men when it comes to earning power. Tiger Woods is the No. 1 earning male athlete at about $75 million. Sharapova is the top woman at $25M. Danica makes a paltry $12 million.