Apr 17, 2012
No harm, no foul.
INDYCAR president of competition Beaux Barfield said April 17 that Simon Pagenaud did not incur a penalty for striking the left-rear tire placed on the ground in the pit stall directly in front of him on Lap 20 of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach because he was following protocol.
“Due to the narrow nature of the Long Beach pit lane, we stressed to the drivers in our pre-race meeting to not pull out into the high-speed lane when exiting a pit box,” said Barfield, the IZOD IndyCar Series Race Director. “Simon chose to clip the tire instead of pulling out in front of another car in the high-speed lane. Had it been a wider pit lane with both a center and a high-speed lane, that action would have resulted in a penalty.”
Pagenaud, driving the No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports car, said he stayed “as far as I could on the inside” as he exited his pit box to leave room for the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car driven by Will Power.
Power also was on pit lane for his first service stop of the 85-lap race on the street circuit. The pit stops were separated by 11.3 seconds.
“I would prefer pit lane incidents to be called up to Race Control from pit officials,” Barfield continued. “And without any pit officials initiating the call or witnessing the incident, it was difficult for Race Control to move forward on any sort of penalty.”
Pagenaud, who was running second before the pit stop, said he didn’t realize it was Power’s car traveling down pit lane.
“When I got out of the pits I saw somebody coming in my mirror, so I tried to stay as far as I could on the inside to leave him room,” he said. “It actually was Will, but I didn’t know it was him. I did my best to stay on the right to avoid a contact with that car, and I touched the tire. Really sorry about any delay I could have caused him. But it's a tight pit lane.”