By Amy Konrath
INDIANAPOLIS (April 17, 2012) – INDYCAR officials have placed IZOD IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal on probation through the next six race events for blocking and initiating avoidable contact during the race on the Long Beach temporary street circuit April 15.
On Lap 22 of 85-lap race, Rahal made contact with the No. 26 car driven by Marco Andretti in Turn 8, which launched Andretti’s car into the air before it made contact with the tire barrier. Andretti climbed from the car without assistance from the Holmatro Safety Team.
“Due to the inability of the No. 38 car to continue the race, a review of the on-track actions of Graham Rahal became a post-race issue,” said Beaux Barfield, INDYCAR president of competition and IZOD IndyCar Series Race Director. “All stewards have reviewed the incident and have decided that the on-track actions of Graham warranted probation because of driving that endangers on-track safety and adversely affects competition.”
The probation period will end following the IZOD IndyCar Series event June 23 at Iowa Speedway. If the improvements are not met, INDYCAR may impose other penalties at its discretions.
Per Rule 9.3.2 of the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook, a driver must not alter his/her racing line based on the actions of pursuing drivers to inhibit or prevent passing. Blocking will result in a minimum of a black flag “drive through” penalty.
Rule 9.3.3 states a competitor must not initiate or attempt to initiate avoidable contact that results in the interruption of another competitor’s lap time or track position.
The probation penalty may be protested pursuant to the rulebook.