BENTLEY WARREN, 71, TO ENTER OSWEGO CLASSIC
The IZOD IndyCar Series will hear two appeals of the result of last Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway that was "won" by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was in second or third place on the speedway when a yellow light came on to effectively end proceedings.
The appeals were filed within 30 minutes of the race ending by Newman-Haas Racing, whose driver, Oriol Servia, was ahead of Hunter-Reay and by Target Chip Ganassi Racing, whose driver, Scott Dixon, had also passed the "winner."
IndyCar race control had decided to restart the race late in the day when it was raining. Most drivers and teams had argued against a restart and there was a pileup, as a result.
Race control subsequently said the race should never have been restarted, that it had been a mistake, and the order of finish would revert to the order the field was in before the restart.
Brian Barnhart, president of competition and operations for IndyCar, said in a release that he would select a panel of impartial individuals to resolve the protests.
"Given my role in race control, I feel that it is in everyone's best interest to have an independent panel hear the protests. I believe a panel will help maintain a fair hearing."
Many commentators and fans – including me – have called for Barnhardt’s dismissal, as a result of this controversy and several others earlier this season, as well as last.
It is unfortunate that Barnart will select the panel, as there could be suspicion that although he’s ostensibly stepping aside, the people he selects will be sympathetic to his predicament.
It would be much better if CEO Randy Bernard struck the committee.
Speaking of Bernard, SpeedTV commentator Marshal Pruett has done a wonderful job analyzing what happened on the track last Sunday and applying it to pertinent passages of the IndyCar rule book. You can read it here.
But he says this about Bernard: "He might not know it right now, but he’s at a critical juncture where making the wrong choice (decision) could kill his credibility within the paddock and the grandstands.
My friend John Bassett, who’s written a number of excellent articles about Indy car racing for Toronto Star Wheels and wheels.ca this season, also has a great sense of humour. In an email, John said:
"Perhaps the (IndyCar) series will put race control on probation now for avoidable decisions!"
CLARIFICATION: When a little birdie called me yesterday to tip me off about the following story, I got two facts mixed up. Bentley Warren plans to drive Vic Miller's supermodified car No. 71 at the Thomson World Series at Thomson Speedway in Connecticut in October. He won't drive the 71 car at Oswego.
However, Warren does plan to test a car sometime between now and Labour Day weekend and if he likes the car, he will drive it in the Oswego Classic on Labour Day weekend. Maybe even sooner.
Ergo, the following item has been slightly edited from the original.
Bentley Warren, 71, the legendary six-time winner of the Oswego International Classic 200 who’s also won the Little 500 twice as well as other U.S. short track classic races, will enter this year’s Oswego Classic on Labour Day weekend if he likes a car he plans to test.
The resident of Kennebunkport, Maine, who used to drive the U.S. Secret Service crazy by flying his helicopter into restricted air space above the family summer cottage at Kennebunk when George H.W. Bush was president, started 37 Indy car races in the early 1970s and made the field for the Indianapolis 500 twice.
The owner of his own "Champ Car" team toward the end of his Indy car career, Warren was severely burned during a U.S. Auto Club race in Argentina. Following his recovery, he’s spent his time since collecting checkered flags on the U.S. short-track circuits.
In 2006, at Star Speedway, in Epping, N.H., Warren tutored the late actor and racing fanatic Paul Newman on the fine art of going fast in a supermodified. "He really surprised me," Warren said later. "He was 81 years old and he was keeping right up. I was haulin’ ass, too."
Asked if Newman said anything afterward, Warrren added: "He said he wished he was 80 again and then he’d have been able to go a little faster." Newman died at age 83.
The owner of Bentley’s Saloon in Arundel, Maine, Warren rode his motorcycle to Florida in recent weeks, so would seem to be in good shape for the Oswego challenge.
Only the late Nolan Swift of Syracuse won as many Oswego Classics – six – and Warren would love to break the tie before he hangs up his helmet.
BENTLEY WARREN (R) WITH ANOTHER INDY 500 VETERAN AND SHORT-TRACK CHAMPION, DAVEY HAMILTON.