Tony vs Brian

Posted by Iannucci | 4/03/2008 | 8 comments »
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There may be a race on the Streets of St Pete in a few days - and one the refugees should look a whole lot better in - but we're all still talking about Tony Kanaan's failure to yield on the final restart in Homestead. Weighing in on the subject now is Brian Barnhart, IRL President of the Gentle Hand of Tolerance, who is now quoted at IndyStar as saying sternly "We were pretty upset with him."

Boy, that'll teach him. "Don't disobey me or I'll...I'll...I'll be upset. No, I'll be pretty upset! Don't make me furrow my brow, Tony. I'm serious."

Check out how Nariz justified his actions.

"I followed my team orders and stayed out to see what would happen," he said. "If the IRL had wanted to pull me in, they had plenty of time to do so (under caution).

"What if the race restarts and somebody crashes (in the back of the pack)? There's a yellow flag and I probably finish (higher). Points toward the championship are really important. I was going to give it a try."
Are you kidding me? OK Tony, let's play this hypothetical: what if the race restarts and your 650 horse-powered tricycle causes a crash? Isn't that a little more important consideration than a few points towards "the championship"?

Oh, and speaking of points and the dollars that accompany them:

After sending our note yesterday on Tony Kanaan, we heard from several team owners and a couple team representatives that were irate about that final restart. One was livid because with all the talk of limited parts availability, Kanaan's staying on the track with a damaged car created an incredibly dangerous situation on the restart that put a lot of cars (and drivers) at risk.

Watching the start from high above the track, we saw the initial group act tentatively to get around Kanaan, and then cars from farther back were running full bore when they reached Kanaan's disabled car around the start/finish line. Frankly it was a mess, and several people gained/lost spots based on that. Consider Ryan Hunter Reay who went from 5th to 7th, and was highly upset with that loss of positions. Not only are those valuable points gone, but he also lost $10k in bonus money that instead went to 5th place finisher Ed Carpenter.

(MORE from TrackSide Online)
Come on, Tony. We know you're tweaked because you won more races than anyone last year but you didn't win the championship. And you still haven't won Indy because of crazy weather conditions. And your rival Helio is now ridiculously famous. And despite the fact that you win lots of races and have personality by the boatloads you aren't featured as a marquee driver. We feel your pain, truly.

But for goodness sakes, don't throw safety and sportsmanship out the proverbial window for the sake of a few extra championship points. That's so not the loveable battling driver who likes to leave donuts on his competitors sidepods that we've all come to appreciate. Just because Paul Tracy is still without a ride doesn't mean you need to wear his black hat.


  1. Anonymous // April 03, 2008 2:16 PM  

    How is he not a top driver? He won like 7 races last year? But yeah, that was dumb.

  2. pressdog // April 03, 2008 2:22 PM  

    I'm with ya, Jeffy. No excuse. Absolutely he should stay out under yellow in case it's another 14-lap cleanup. But once they are coming to the green, he should have taken the pit road. I've seen back markers do it out of sportsmanship so they won't screw up the last five laps for the leaders.

  3. Unknown // April 03, 2008 8:17 PM  

    Does anyone think Tony is getting a little too big for his pants?

    The postrace Glen shoving match with Hornish, season-long bickering and messing with Helio, now this BS staying out when he clearly needed to park that car

    WTF Tony???

  4. Anonymous // April 04, 2008 12:02 AM  

    "How is he not a top driver? He won like 7 races last year? But yeah, that was dumb."

    AMEN !!!

    I'm a big TK fan and I hope this will all be water under the bridge after this weekend.

  5. Fred Hurley // April 04, 2008 7:40 AM  

    So the punishment for ignoring the black flag is ... missing 30 minutes of practice? Really??

  6. Jennifer Coomer // April 04, 2008 7:47 AM  

    Maybe he's not a "marquee" driver because he's acting like a jerk-wad.

  7. Anonymous // April 04, 2008 8:43 AM  

    I'm going to come down on Tony's side here. Not 100%, but I'll put the blame at 50/50 between the driver on the track and the IRL officials.

    Point one, oh Iron Hand of Justice (TM, all rights reserved): Please go to the IMS Hall of Fame Museum gift shop and get yourself a copy of this DVD: Indianapolis 500: The Legacy Series, The 80's: A Decade for the Ages. Pop it in and cue up 1981. Watch very closely. If the gift store is closed, Google ESPN Classics 1981 Indianapolis 500. See if you can get that and watch it very closely. Also, extend an invitation to The Bringer of Law to sit along side you and watch as well.

    So why am I telling the IHJ and his sidekick to watch a 27 year old race? Simple: Watch what happens when an on-track violation of rules isn't dealt with immediately. Applying sanctions after the fact took 138 days and a court case to figure out who won that one Brian. And people are still arguing over it today.

    Secondly, never forget that YOU are the final say on what goes on out on the track. That Kanaan was going to stay out under yellow was a given. However, in my opinion, the condition the #11 car was in was no different than if the car was in one piece, but oil smoke was coming out of the exhaust headers as it cruised under yellow. There were two points under the yellow where the IRL should have thrown the black flag for car #11:

    1) If there was concern about the suspension failing at any speed, then during the yellow Race Control should have mandated bringing the car into the pits for inspection by IRL race officials. In my mind this is no different then telling the team "We have a report from competitors on track your car is spraying oil/coolant and we're seeing some spray at the end of the car. If your driver doesn't come in voluntarily for our inspection, next time by we show the black flag to your car."

    2) On the lap prior to the restart. "We've asked you, now we're telling you!". Fail to respond to a black flag, then your last scored lap was the last green flag lap. It's as if your car fell out right there.

    Drivers and teams are going to push the limits as much as they can (See Vision Racing's rear wing hijinks). In a limited sense I don't fault Tony. But it's up to the sanctioning body to enforce the rules during the race.

    Otherwise we're the open wheel equivalent of the N-word Cell Phone Series, and the rules are applied based on who you are and how much money you bring in.

  8. mikebdot // April 04, 2008 9:02 AM  

    Just for the record, his 4th wheel was still spinning. RHR loses out on money because he didn't have the balls and Ed Carpenter did. Waaaa!

    If people want to gripe and moan about dangerous drivers, why is nobody coming down on Milka or the douche that lost it in the middle of a turn right in front of the race leader? Why didn't HE drop down below the line a meer 7 laps before the race was over?

    Coulda woulda shoulda. If he lost his wheel, this would be a different story, but the man knew his car and did what he thought was necessary.

    I can't believe Dixon either, saying that he could have caught up with TK. He was like 1.6 seconds down with 7 laps to go. He would have had to go about 1.8 mph faster the whole time. It's possible, but not likely. Dixon is just a smug punk and his partner can't even make a "smug" face with all the plastic surgery he's had. The Target team can piss up a rope.