IndyCar institutes starter camera
NEWTON, Iowa (AP)
The IndyCar Series is hoping a new video camera can help eliminate mistakes after the embarrassing penalty wrongly given to Scott Dixon last week in Milwaukee.
Series race director Beaux Barfield announced this week that a camera will be fixed on the starter to capture the green flag on starts and restarts. They'll be recorded and synchronized to the rest of the video in the system, which eliminates the need to manually sync timing and scoring.
Though Barfield said last week's error was the first time he could recall the system breaking down, the mistake forced officials to re-evaluate it.
It's ''certainly in response to some of the issues that were revealed last weekend,'' Barfield said. ''It restores the confidence that we lost as a result of what happened.''
Dixon certainly could've used the new camera a week ago.
IndyCar penalized Dixon for jumping a restart, but Barfield later acknowledged that a failure in the system caused officials to look at the wrong replay.
Dixon finished 11th and dropped from second to third in the points chase prior to Saturday night's race at Iowa Speedway. But Barfield said there simply isn't anything the series can do to reimburse Dixon's team for their mistake.
''It would be a dangerous path to go down trying to evaluate and giving something back to them. So unfortunately, the damage is done and thankfully they have been gracious and understand that these things happen and they hope not to see it happen again as much as I hope not to see it happen again. But, move on,'' Barfield said.
STREETS OF ST. PETE: Officials with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg announced Friday that they've extended their deal with IndyCar through 2017.
The St. Petersburg race, a street course event that's been held for the past eight years on the city's waterfront, will run on March 24, 2013. Helio Castroneves won this year's race to open the season.
''St. Petersburg hosts many events, but none heightens our city's visibility as much as the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg,'' said Bill Foster, the mayor of St. Petersburg.
BITTERSWEET BIRTHDAY: Friday would have marked the 34th birthday of Dan Wheldon, who always ran well in Iowa.
Wheldon won the second race here in 2008 and donated his winnings to the victims of major flooding in Iowa that year. He finished fourth in 2009 and, in four career Iowa races, never started worse than 10th or finished worse than 11th.
''I could not forget his birthday, especially to be at this track where he was very good,'' said Tony Kanaan, a close friend of Wheldon's. ''It is a sweet coincidence having a race weekend on his birthday at a place he liked so much. Hopefully we'll make him proud and wish him a happy birthday wherever he is.''
SPARKPLUGS: Dario Franchitti earned the pole for the race in Iowa, the 28th of his career and the second in a row, after winning the last of three heat qualifying races. Marco Andretti, who won at Iowa Speedway in 2011, qualified a season-best third...Graham Rahal and Tony Kanaan were each penalized 10 spots on the starting grid because of unapproved engine changes, but the new engines allowed each to win a heat race prior to Franchitti...The Indy Lights race, scheduled to start just prior to the IndyCar event, was pushed back because of delays caused by storms that blew through central Iowa.