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Penalty on Dixon was a 'mistake' say officials

Last updated 12:44 17/06/2012
Scott Dixon
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DOWN THE FIELD: Scott Dixon finished 11th at the Milwaukee Mile.

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Scott Dixon was confused and annoyed. As it turns out, he had every right to be.

Dixon had to serve a drive-through penalty for jumping a restart in the IndyCar race at the Milwaukee Mile and ultimately finished 11th.

"I'm actually very excited to see what the hell they're talking about," Dixon said after the race. "I'm disappointed."

Race director Beaux Barfield acknowledged afterward that he shouldn't have been penalised at all.

After explaining the situation to the team, Barfield acknowledged the mistake publicly, noting that a failure in their timing and scoring system caused them to look at the wrong replay. A clock was off by 36 seconds, throwing off their system.

According to Barfield's explanation, what officials mistakenly looked at was a replay of a previous restart - one that was waved off by officials at the time and didn't count. Dixon did commit a potential infraction on the restart that didn't count.

But Dixon didn't do anything wrong on the subsequent restart that ended up counting and should not have been penalised.

"It was obviously the wrong call, based on the reality of the situation," Barfield said. "But based on the clock leading us the wrong way, technology completely got us."

Barfield took responsibility for the mistake, and said officials with Dixon's Chip Ganassi Racing team were "very gracious" when presented with an explanation.

"They appreciated my candor with them, explaining to them truthfully exactly what happened, and thought, 'It's racing,'" Barfield said.

"It's one of those strange things that we've probably never heard of and hopefully never hear of happening again."

Dixon finished 11th. Barfield said there wasn't anything officials can do to undo the mistake, but said officials will work to resolve the problem.

"It's racing," Barfield said. "Once a penalty is served, I can't then jump back in there and undo it."

IndyCar officials have been in the spotlight for the past week.

Points leader Will Power was penalised for blocking at Texas, a controversial call. Then officials were second-guessed by drivers this week for issuing a relatively light penalty after finding a technical infraction - one they initially missed - on Texas winner Justin Wilson's car.

Barfield admitted that the Dixon mistake might be on their minds beyond this week.

"It's probably going to make us a little bit gun-shy, to be honest with you, for the next few calls that we make, in terms of making sure that we get everything from beginning to end," Barfield said.

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As a result of his 11th place finish Dixon slipped from second to third in the Indycar standings.

The race was won by Ryan Hunter-Reay who held off Tony Kanaan.

- AP

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