Pagenaud crossed a blend line too early exiting the pits and
received only a warning despite the fact doing so helped him get
ahead of Scott Dixon for what essentially was the race win on Lap 56
of 80. That was the last scheduled pit stop of the Toyota Grand Prix
of Long Beach.
Dixon and his team were upset with race control's decision, saying
IndyCar officials specifically said such an act would be penalized.
However, Dixon's strategist, Mike Hull, acknowledged that IndyCar
did not say what the penalty would be. Another driver, Carlos Munoz,
also was warned for crossing the yellow line near Turn 1.
Indeed, the rulebook is clear, but the penalty sheet is not. IndyCar
gives its stewards -- former Ford Racing executive Dan Davis and
former drivers Arie Luyendyk and Max Papis -- latitude in making a
decision. A minor violation can be overlooked. The next levels are a
driver going to rear of the lead lap, followed by a drive through
Pagenaud was issued neither of those.
"It shouldn't be a judgment call; it's a rule," Dixon said.
IndyCar later issued a statement that read, "Simon Pagenaud's
actions during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach were deemed an
infraction per Rule 188.8.131.52. 'Lane Usage' of the IndyCar Penalty
Guidelines: Failing to follow designated procedures entering or
exiting the pit area, including the proper use of the acceleration
and deceleration lanes. The penalty for this infraction ranges from
a warning (minimum), putting the driver to the back of the field
(mid) and drive-through or stop and go/hold (maximum). IndyCar race
stewards determined his actions were not severe enough to warrant a
harsher penalty than the warning that was issued."
Dixon's car owner, Chip Ganassi, said NASCAR would have solved this
problem electronically so no judgment would enter into the
"There's a camera there, and the camera makes the call
electronically," Ganassi said of NASCAR. "So, we'll see. Maybe it's
an opportunity (for IndyCar) to improve."
[to top of second column]
Pagenaud argued that it was a close call, even a gray area, and it
didn't help him get in front of the charging Dixon.
"A yard the other way wouldn't have mattered," he said.
Pagenaud held off Dixon, last year's winner of this event, the rest
of the way for a 0.3032-second victory, the fifth of his IndyCar
career. He won two races in each of the 2013 and '14 seasons for
what is now Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Pagenaud also is the series leader, by 14 points, in his second
season with Roger Penske's team.
Helio Castroneves, the pole winner, led 47 laps and finished third.
All three of the top finishers are part of the Chevrolet program.
Pagenaud's teammate, Juan Pablo Montoya, also got a favorable review
from race control. Late in the race, a potential block on Takuma
Sato was not called as such. Montoya took fourth, Sato fifth as the
The caution-free race was the first for this event since 1989. It
also went flag to flag without incident in 1985 and '87.
The last IndyCar race to go the distance without a caution was the
2013 race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
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