The co-ordination of spontaneity

Posted by Iannucci | 5/30/2009 | 6 comments »
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(The following is a partial transcript of the Trackside show with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee, from a segment where Mr Lee is describing why in the world IMS officials including Security Chief Charles Burns seemed to be preventing Helio Castroneves from climbing the fence after his third Indy 500 victory.)

"I talked with some people, and this is how it was explained to me. This is from IMS people, that they had conversations about what they wanted to happen. And they had two plans. At first they were going to tell whoever won to go directly to victory lane. That included Helio, and he was told that on the radio.

"That's what you've heard, and I've heard the radio transmission. You're going to hear it again on Mike King's show on IndyCar weekly. Someone - not Brian Barnhart - was saying 'Three (Helio's car number) go to victory lane, three go to victory lane, three go to victory lane.'

"They had a second plan in the case of Helio winning, and they knew there was a decent chance that he was going to disregard that and he was going to stop on the track. As I was told, their hope and their goal was that he would go to victory lane, he would get the wreath, he would drink the milk, and then he could run and climb a fence. And maybe he would do the ABC interview first, whatever. But he would go on and climb the fence after that.

"But if he did not, the plan was then to have security out there on the main stretch to try to keep as many people - photographers, ABC doing the post-race interview - from him so then he would climb the fence and report directly to victory lane.

"I am told that the tech inspector in the yellow firesuit was not supposed to try to put the steering wheel back in his car. He was listening to the directions 'Three go to victory lane,' and took that upon himself to try to help get 'Three' directly to victory lane. So that has been conceded that that was not handled well."

(Photo: I told Meesh I wouldn't publish this photo she took, but I couldn't resist. Come on - this is an unparalleled pic of Helio, Charles, and the overzealous official.)


  1. The SpeedGeek // May 30, 2009 10:15 AM  

    That is an awesome picture. Sums up the whole situation in one, quick image. Good work, Meesh.

    I'm not one of those people who's insisting that anybody be fired over this. It was dumb, yes. Very dumb. I get what they were trying to do and why they were trying to do it, even if I don't agree with those things. Learn from that and move on, right? If it happens again, then let's talk about having the safety guy's head on a spit, or Brian Barnhardt strung up from the rafters of the Pagoda.

  2. Ken from Melbourne // May 30, 2009 12:37 PM  

    This behavior by track officials is indicative of the sort of "STUFF" that invariably rolls down hill from upper management at at a place like the IMS, you know, the IMS that is run by TG...
    BTW Skip, defender of TG, in previous posts, needs to take the needle out of his arm and put it back on the victrola!!!!

  3. vitorfan // May 30, 2009 12:46 PM  

    "They had a second plan in the case of Helio winning, and they knew there was a decent chance that he was going to disregard that and he was going to stop on the track."

    Really? Ya think? All of the emotion Helio was experiencing, do you think he even HEARD the radio transmission?

    Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see why this is even a topic of discussion.

  4. Anonymous // May 30, 2009 5:58 PM  

    Perhaps if we'd just quit kissing ABC's/ESPN's big arse and let things happen as they, then "spontaneity" would occur as it should according to unplanned and NOT orchestrated...But then ABC mighty actually have to give a little more air time to racing (and especially the 500) and less to something so much more exciting as golf or tennis, or, probably someday, curling. I can't wait for another VERSUS broadcast!

  5. Unknown // May 31, 2009 6:02 AM  

    I think they need to get their story in line first. Ron Green stated: "I don't know if fans can pick up that scanner communication or not, but I can confirm that he was saying that" when he was asked if Barnhart made the statement.

    Now it wasn't Barnhart? You mean that just anybody can get on the radio and start giving drivers orders?

  6. Iannucci // May 31, 2009 6:33 AM  

    If it wasn't Barnhart on the radio my guess is it was Tony Kanaan. He's always messing with his rival/buddy Helio.