Installation error

Posted by Iannucci | 9/08/2008 | 10 comments »
Bookmark and Share

Target Chip Ganassi Racing is as talented a bunch of folks as you'll find. They dedicate millions of dollars and thousands of hours to researching innovative methods for getting their IndyCars to go as fast any others on any type of track, working tirelessly so that every part is properly assembled and optimally configured.

Well, almost.

Upon review of its Timing and Scoring process following the conclusion of Sunday's race, IndyCar Series officials have confirmed that the transponder on Scott Dixon's No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car had been improperly installed, resulting in Dixon being shown in the top spot on the Indy Racing League's T and S system rather than race winner Helio Castroneves.

"The improperly installed transponder clearly affected the data we were receiving from Dixon's car," said Jon Koskey, the Indy Racing League's director of timing and scoring. "With the signal going the wrong direction, it could have bounced off of any number of things and made it difficult for the antenna to pick up an accurate signal. Because there's always the possibility of electronic equipment failing and the possibility of human error, we have multiple systems in place to insure the accuracy of the data."
Before anyone asks, this will not result in Scott Dixon having to forfeit any points or the 2008 title he won. "The Man" is still keeping Helio down.


  1. Mark // September 09, 2008 6:27 AM  

    I am kind of surprised they don't check something like that in tech before the race...

  2. pressdog // September 09, 2008 6:36 AM  

    Props to for getting the story on what happened out so quickly to try and ground all the black helicopters. Bigger props still for having the photo-finish cam deployed. It's pretty clear Helio won. Just glad it wasn't a deal where Helio won and it was a photo finish for 8th between Dixon and someone else and, damn, the camera failed so we're pretty sure he won. Imagine the message board lighting up on that one.

  3. mmack // September 09, 2008 6:41 AM  

    (In my best Maxwell Smart voice)

    "Ah, the old 'Install the transmitter backwards so we'll always be in the lead' trick! Well Chief, it looks like Target Chip Ganassi Racing missed it by that much"

  4. the american mutt // September 09, 2008 7:48 AM  

    Any chance we can get Barnhard to step down? He's clearly not impartial or up to the task he's assigned. At least in Napcar they have a post race inspection, and would in fact debate on punishments for such an infraction.

  5. Jerry // September 09, 2008 8:13 AM  

    Clearly there should be a penalty for this. I believe in post-race inspections. I hate NAPCRAP but one thing they do right is making people pay for their "mistakes". Dixon should be docked at least 10 championship points and send the proper message to other drivers and teams.

  6. the american mutt // September 09, 2008 10:26 AM  

    Think about what an improperly installed transpoder, which clearly put him across the line before he was there, does for his qualifying runs. Then consider has it been that way all year? Teams do cheat, and will look for anything to give them an upperhand, even if only for a tenth of a second. Just sayin'. The Soft Velvet Glove of Justice (unless you're Helio apparently) needs to go. Cotman would do a much better job I think.

    Think about what we've seen this year. We saw a driver pass two people before the starting line, and was punished by race control for one spot. That's fuzzy math. We then saw the same driver do it again next week in Nashville. We also saw (firsthand in my case) this same driver go slower than the pace car to reserve fuel for a win at that race, and instead of having him pick up the pace of the PACE car, they slowed the pace car. We also saw this same driver brake check the restart at that race (and several others) in order to get at least an advantage on the restart, or as was the case an extra yellow lap to conserve fuel for said fuel win.

    I don't want the championship turned over. I don't want points docked because at this point that's pointless, but come the eff on and do your job all year or turn it over to someone who will.

  7. Anonymous // September 10, 2008 1:32 PM  

    Actually an improperly installed transdonder isn't going to effect his qualifying runs. The transponder is going to give the same signal relative to the car and timing loop every lap.

  8. the american mutt // September 10, 2008 2:13 PM  


    "With the signal going the wrong direction, it could have bounced off of any number of things and made it difficult for the antenna to pick up an accurate signal."

    It seems like it could change every lap if it can bounce off "any number" of things. It could be harmful or helpful either way couldn't it?

    The point is, the question shouldn't have to be asked in the first place. Impound the cars after qualifying and after the race, and inspect them for an idiosyncracies. Yeah?

    None of that however changes the fact that Barnhard isn't doing his job very effectively. If he'd have been doing his job all season Helio wouldn't have blocked Justin like that in the first place. THough I have to wonder how that was considered a "double block" as Goodyear said during the broadcast. That'd require four moves instead of the one Helio did. He impeded his progress and then set up for the turn.

    Regardless, again, this isn't a discussion we should eve Have to have. Most places fire employees who can't do their job. Just sayin'.

  9. Anonymous // September 10, 2008 6:43 PM  

    I believe the transponders used by the IRL come from I think they are an ID and timing system. The timing is probably derived from an RF peak detector. Basically the signal grows in strength is the car approaches the timing loop then decays as the car passes the loop. Timing is derived from the 'peak' RF signal which would be the same every lap relative to the car reflections or not. However if you assume that reflections produce multiple "peaks" and that the timing is derived from DIFFERENT peaks each lap then you could conceivably get an error. If the range of the detector is about 6 feet (its more like 2 feet) then the largest error at 215mph is about 0.02 seconds. So I would say that if the transponder is working and you do receive a signal then the largest error isn't worth worrying about. The only issue is the 'location' of the rf peak would be different between cars as was the case between Helios and Scotts cars - about 11 inches.

  10. noone // September 12, 2008 4:58 PM  

    why wasnt any points taken from Dixon for this?
    And Helio get's upunished for touching white line.. geeez!