IHJ declares war on Helio

Posted by Iannucci | 9/06/2008 | 12 comments »
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We've just received word that there's been a crucial penalization during the qualifications at Chicagoland. Our good buddy pressdog is LIVE on the scene, so as Marty would say, "Bill, you've got more?"

Newsflash -- just heard in the media center that Helio is being sent to the back of the field after driving below the white line numerous times during quals. THE IHJ IS CRACKING DOWN. Barnhart allegedly told them several times in the driver meeting and then followed up with each driver before they went out: if you go below the white line, you go to the back.

Team Penske will bookend the field as Helio's teammate Ryan Briscoe starts from the pole position tomorrow - right next to Scott Dixon. Meanwhile Rod Smart is on line one, Mr Castroneves, and he's offering to lend you his jersey.


  1. Dale Nixon // September 06, 2008 3:54 PM  

    Let it not be said that the Iron Hand of Justice is soft on dancers.

  2. Jenna // September 06, 2008 5:05 PM  

    I would love to know Penske's strategy. Clearly there was a reason Helio did that, since before he started his qualifying attempt he asked Cindric if they were sticking to "the plan."

  3. Anonymous // September 06, 2008 5:50 PM  

    It was clearly intentional on Helio's part. It would have been hilarious if instead of sending Helio to the back, Barnhart issued him a warning and made him start up front.

  4. Demond Sanders // September 06, 2008 7:27 PM  

    Wow. Let this forever shut the pieholes of the crapwagon.com morons who insist the league is fixed.

    Would a rigged league choose to suck the drama out by twice penalizing the only driver with a chance to keep things interesting?

  5. The American Mutt // September 06, 2008 7:33 PM  


    It would if the league was interested in fixing it so the Indy 500 winner is also the champion...


    You forgot the words "on Helio only" when you posted "the iron hand of justice is cracking down" because he only seems interested in punishing one driver...


    Wish he'd have found his balls at the beginning of the season rather than now. It'd be a completely different year.

    That anon who always gives me crap but never actually addresses a point I make,

    Watch the highlights from the Indy 500. Watch Vitors amazing pass because lets face it...it's amazing, but then watch the next pit sequence, don't pay attention to Danica and Briscoe. Watch how much farther ahead not turning out puts him over the rest of the field. Then tell me it's not an unfair advantage.

  6. Anonymous // September 06, 2008 8:01 PM  

    Yep, the league is fixed. Mutt is right. Wheldon, Hornish, Franchitti, and now Dixon have won the Indy 500 and are also series champs. The fact that they're some of the best drivers in the series has nothing to do with it, it's all a league conspiracy to make sure the Indy 500 winner is also the league champ. I wonder if Dixon not being able to pass a soul was a newfound trait he picked up over the winter, because last season he won at Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio, and Sonoma (none of which are "all out" courses), and somehow found a way to win at Nashville, too. Keep in mind all of this was done without having the first pit stall, because that belonged to points leader Dario Franchitti. Had he had a Coke can's worth of gasoline, Dixon also would have been series champion last year without ever having the first pit stall. But alas, none of that matters for some reason, because Mutt thinks Dixon is arrogant, so he'd rather not give him credit for anything. Mutt, did you give Dario this hard of a time for winning the championship from the first pit stall? I sure hope so. But if not, at least you'll be able to next year since he'll be Dixon's teammate, which will ensure a great pit position all season long.

    With Love,

    The anon who always gives you crap

  7. Demond Sanders // September 06, 2008 8:26 PM  

    "It would if the league was interested in fixing it so the Indy 500 winner is also the champion..."

    How does that outcome benefit the league in any appreciable way?

    I think the league would be more concerned with a potentially amazing finish to the season for its fans and sponsors. (Which has now been thoroughly prevented by the IHJ)

  8. Robert NJ // September 07, 2008 5:26 AM  

    The IRL is fixing the the race for TV coverage, plain and simple.

    Think of the story line: all day we get to watch Helio pass cars on his way to the front. What better way to give sponsor airtime that would normally never been seen this week. Since sponsors are all on the fence about the IRL because of the TV package, the IRL will gift them time the same as they are gifting Target everything this year to keep them for the next 3 years...let see someone from the IRL deny that!

    As far as the unfair advantage of racing...that's motorsports. Money and sponsors run the show. I great book to read is "The Unfair Advantage" by the late great Mark Donohue.. a must read for everyone in the off season. NO joke, if you have not read it- get it- it is an awesome read.

    I hope they do something to change the pit stall locations for next year. You can not let the crap of the points leader being able to make up a second (or 3 track positions) in the pits because he (or she) can pull straight out.

  9. pressdog // September 07, 2008 6:03 AM  

    I don't get the whole "Dixon is the Anti-Christ" thing. He's always pleasant in person, gives the media as much time as he can and doesn't seem to be hating it, gives pretty straight answers, the teams love and respect him, his PR posse dig him (and they see him behind closed doors), even his parents seem like fine people. Nobody at the track or in the league that I know of has anything negative to say about Scott Dixon. They may not want to move in with the guy, but they respect him and have no issues. He's pretty much an anti-prick. Honestly, it's the same for most drivers. Some have eccentricities and some can be asses at times, but that's the nature of the race driver animal. Dixon is among the most normal. He even survived driving the Super Pig Toyota for a couple years.

  10. Johnny // September 07, 2008 6:17 AM  

    I'm going to leave a rare comment on here to

    1. Completely agree w/Pressdog. I'm just not seeing the rationale for the Dixon hatred.

    2. Tell all the "it's for TV" conspiracy types that this Sunday would be probably the worst time to pull something like that. Because of Hanna, the IRL will be directly up against the Sprint Cup race with Bowyer, Gordon and Kahne on the Chase bubble. I'd say TV ratings may hit 2007 Champ Car levels.

  11. the american mutt // September 07, 2008 7:04 AM  

    For the record I don't actually believe the league is fixed. There's way too many variables in a race league to do that. The comment about Barnhart was a joke. Though I do wish he'd have had some balls starting at Homestead.

    My hatred of DIxon is a result largely of him whining about blocking from the winners circle at Sonoma last year and then crashing out Dario. No ones going to convince me that wasn't intentional. He had the spin under control, and if he was trying to get his car out of the way he would have put his car on the other side of the track--not in the main line of traffic.


    At least you used points to dispute my point. I DO give him credit, but I'm merely pointing out he's not having a great year, he's having a lucky year, and YES Dario had a lucky year last year, and YES Sam had a lucky year the year before. If Wheldon had had a decent pit crew he'd have been the champ in 06. Hell the fact that he tied Sam with two less race wins in and of itself says to me he had a better year.

    But thank you for at least using facts in an argument against me.

  12. Edmund // September 07, 2008 10:02 AM  

    I'm sorry, but it makes no sense to me whatsoever to say the IRL somehow benefits from ensuring a Dixon championship. I am not a Dixon hater, but a come from behind victory for Helio (EASILY the second most recognizable character in the Indycar cast) would be far more interesting than the expected, had-this-wrapped-up-four-races-ago Dixon championship.

    More bizarre to me is the "strategy" Tim Cindric and Castroneves used in qualifying. It was clearly intentional and just plain weird. What could they possibly be thinking? Just to give the finger to IHJ Barnhart? I sure hope not.