Dixon unhappy with early ruling in IndyCar race
Scott Dixon seemed more perturbed with the start of Sunday’s
Indy Grand Prix of Alabama than he was with the finish, when he
fell just short of a win.
IndyCar officials ruled that Dixon improved his position by two
spots before reaching the start/finish line, including passing
eventual winner Helio Castroneves. Dixon was sent back to his
original fifth-place position but figures he actually crossed the
line in ninth or 10th.
“The call to start the race was total B.S. We had a clean
pass,” said Dixon, who wound up second. “If they want us to just
start single-file and stay that way, then that’s what they should
have us do.”
Dixon said pole-sitter Will Power started too slow, causing the
“I think the cause for it was Will,” he said. “I don’t know
why he’s trying to start in first gear and crawl 20 miles an hour.
I think that’s ridiculous.”
His Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dario Franchitti chimed
in then: “I thought you were supposed to keep pace-car
“Yeah, you’re supposed to keep pace-car speed, and that is the
first ever start I’ve done in first gear,” Dixon said. “So that
set it up. So whoever was in front of me got a lot of wheel
Dixon was left futilely trying to overtake Castroneves in the
final two laps after coming off a two-lap caution.
FUZZY MULE: When Charles Barkley was growing up 10 minutes away,
there wasn’t much on the 700-acre site of Barber Motorsports
“There used to be a bar here called the Fuzzy Mule,” said
Barkley, who served as grand marshal for Sunday’s race.
The former NBA star drove down from his Atlanta home for the
event at the 7-year-old facility, mingling with Penske Team drivers
Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Ryan Briscoe. He grew up in
“This is great for Leeds, it’s great for Birmingham, it’s great
for Alabama,” Barkley said,
Former American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, a Birmingham native
who sang the National Anthem, said he “used to go mud-running” on
One thing the bulky 6-foot-4 Barkley wasn’t doing: Climbing
behind the wheel.
“I couldn’t get a leg in an IndyCar,” he responded
Barkley has taken a few laps around the track, which gave him
more appreciation for the pros.
“I’ve been in a car going 120 mph a couple of times and thought
I was going to have a heart attack. It’s scary going that fast,”
BARBER STOP: IndyCar drivers left Barber Motorsports Park with
mostly favorable reviews and a few suggestions.
They mostly revolved around the layout that left passing at a
premium in the race.
Franchitti would like to see “just a couple of small changes,
to promote some passing.”
He suggested extending a straightaway and putting in another
good braking zone.
“Then it would be spectacular,” he said. “To be here and see
the crowd, it was bloody amazing. That was pretty cool.”
Castroneves obviously had few complaints after his victory but
agreed that a longer straightaway would be nice.
“The layout is great. It’s a lot of fun, a lot of up-and-down
elevations,” he said. “Very difficult but it’s a lot of fun when
you get it right.”
Event officials said 53,555 fans attended Sunday’s race with a
total three-day attendance of 84,126.
Promoter Gene Hallman said the heavy walk-up crowd actually
exceeded expectations to the point that he was considering limiting
one-day sales next year.
LEGENDS: Barber will host the first Bobby Rahal Signature
Legends of Motorsports event May 21-23 with Mario Andretti
scheduled to appear. Rahal, a three-time CART champion who won the
1986 Indianapolis 500, said Sunday the event will feature “cars
that really stir the soul, so we think it’s going to be a big
hit.” Other events are scheduled for Watkin Glen, N.Y. (June
11-13); Quebec, Canada (July 9-11) and Sebring, Fla. (Dec.